MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin — Over the past year, there has been an increase in drivers illegally passing school buses in Kenosha County, Wisconsin.
In 2017, the Kenosha County Sheriffs Office issues 57 "failure to stop for school bus" violations. This year, the number of citations is up 70.
Steve Bennett has been a bus driver at First Student Inc. in Kenosha for 11 years. It's a school bus company that services 39 schools in that county. He said when he sees a car passing the stop arm, it’s upsetting.
“It’s a mix between anger and I’m terrified. What’s going to happen with my kids?” Bennet said.
According to a one-day study done by the Wisconsin School Bus Association, out of 1,538 participating drivers, 363 cars were observed passing the stop arms.
In Waukesha County, 242 violations were reported in 2017.
Michael Comstock, manager of First Student, said his drivers report violations daily. Once a violation is observed, license plate numbers and the description of the vehicle are then handed off to authorities.
“It’s a life and death decision every time they decide to drive through the red lights on a school,” said Bennett.
Elizabeth Ramirez is a mother of a 4-year-old and said it’s gut-wrenching to see drivers pass through school bus stop arms.
“You have to pay attention because that’s why so many things are happening nowadays. People are in such a rush to get somewhere," said Ramirez.
Failure to comply with school bus stop laws could result in a $362 fine.