Watch out for stopped school buses!

Three weeks into the school year, Oconee sheriff’s deputies are detecting motorists who fail to obey the state’s law when it comes to stopped school buses. When a school bus comes to a stop for picking up and letting out students, a small red stop sign will automatically display on the side of the bus. That’s the sign, according to Sheriff’s spokesman Jimmy Watt, for drivers to come to a complete stop and wait. Someone’s life or well being could depend on it. “If you’re on a two-lane road or a road in which the asphalt goes completely across the road, and there’s no grassy median, you must stop for a school bus when the school bus stops and has that red sign out on the side,” Watt said. Sheriff’s officers continue to write citations for drivers who violate the law. Magistrate Blake Norton says penalty for failing to stop first offense is a $500 or up to 30 days in jail.  Counting fees and the like, that fine escalates, he says, to $1.092.50.  Walhalla Police Chief Ronald Wilbanks says he notices a disconnect between summer vacation and the start of school. According to Wilbanks, it takes some drivers break-in period before they realize those yellow buses are back on the roads and highways.