‘Aggressive’ drivers named biggest threat on the road for Guilford County students who ride the bus

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GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — There is a large push in the Triad to warn aggressive drivers of the danger they pose to children when they do not obey the school bus safety laws.

Law enforcement agencies are posted reminders online and signs across their cities and counties to target those drivers.

The latest available DMV numbers are from 2017 and show that 28 crashes were caused by drivers who did not stop when the red stop arm was in use on a school bus.

Of those 28 crashes, one person was killed and 15 others were hurt.

“It’s very frustrating,” Pamela Tonkins said.

She has been driving school buses for Guilford County Schools for 17 years. Throughout her nearly two-decade career, the main danger is that drivers who do this pose the biggest threat on the road to children.

“We have people that challenge buses. There are more buses on the road, and there are more cars on the road,” she said.

Tonkins is slated to drive around three different routes for the 2019-2020 school year; a morning, mid-day and afternoon route.

Even while she prepared for those routes a week before classes started, she had people run her stop sign.

“I don’t know why. Maybe [they think] that there [aren’t] any students out there. But, that is very frustrating!” she said.

She explained how that frustration grows throughout the year, as she sees the same drivers refuse to stop every day.

“I’m like, don’t apologize to me. If the student wasn’t paying attention, you just hit a child.” Tonkins said.

Tonkins has begun to write down license plate numbers and report those who break the law to police.

Greensboro police representatives have said that they will be heavily patrolling schools zones for the first few weeks of the new school year and will be writing citations for those breaking the law.

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