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I-Team: Drivers Behaving Badly

I-Team looks at school zone and bus safety

I-Team looks at school zone and bus safe

COACHELLA VALLEY, Calif. - Students are back in school in all three of the valley's school districts and people are getting used to the mayhem outside schools all over again.

News Channel 3 found a lot of drivers passing those schools and in many cases, the parents of the children being picked up or dropped off are behaving badly.
    
We used the News Channel 3 speed gun to put them to the test and found that many drivers are speeding.  

They're also routinely doing illegal U-turns, and rolling through stop signs.

Cathedral City Police Chief Travis Walker says, "We do remind parents to be patient, to bring your patience."
  
Local police departments are stepping up enforcement during the first weeks of the school year, hoping to stop drivers from behaving badly.

The numbers show that added enforcement works.

In Cathedral City, collisions in school zones dropped from 2016 to 2017 while the number of traffic stops increased.

The chief thinks there's a direct correlation.

"What we found is we saw a significant reduction in crashes and complaints from the school because we were doing the enforcement."

School zones are only part of the equation when it comes to getting students to and from school safely.

First Group is the transportation provider for Palm Springs Unified.

We rode with 24-year veteran driver and behind-the-wheel instructor Garrett Duke who says distracted driving and cell phones are big problems.

News Channel 3 mounted a camera on the side of his bus, near the stop sign to see if we would catch any drivers committing what's called a stop-arm violation, passing the bus when the red lights are flashing and the stop arm is deployed.

Two drivers did just that during this one route.

An industry survey by the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services recently did a one-day survey on the issue.  

Bus drivers reported 83,944 vehicles passed their buses illegally.  

That would amount to more than 15 million violations during a 180-day school year.

Duke says, "They have to realize we're doing it for the safety of the children."  

If that's not enough, drivers should realize it can be very costly.

Stop-arm violations in Riverside County cost $695.

Speeding tickets are $238-$490 depending on the speed.

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