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Dashcam video shows driver passing school bus picking up students in Columbia

A Columbia mom recorded dashcam video of a car passing her child’s bus when it was stopped with its lights on and the stop arm out.

Dee Dee Smith told ABC 17 News that she has seen it before: drivers pass the stopped bus while it was picking up or dropping off students on Creasy Springs Road. Smith said she bought the dashcam so she can catch the drivers and make the stop safer for her daughter.

Smith reported the incident to police. She said police told her they would try to send a patrol officer to monitor the area for any other violators.

Michelle Baumstark, spokeswoman for the Columbia Public Schools district, said the buses also have cameras.

Baumstark said the cameras “can be used to gather additional necessary information about the alleged incident. Any and all information helps with identifying the person who committed the offense.”

Passing a bus with the stop arm out is a crime, according to state law. Prosecution can range from a misdemeanor to a felony, depending on the situation, and if the incident results in the death or injury of a child.

According to Missouri State Highway Patrol records, 72 school bus stop arm violations were reported to mid-Missouri troopers from January 1, 2017 to February 5, 2019.

Smith said she shared and reported the video to make drivers and parents aware that incidents like this happen in Columbia.

She hopes that bringing awareness will “prevent someone from being hit or killed in a situation like this.”

Baumstark said the district is currently working with Student Transportation of America on an informational safety video to remind our community about the importance of following the traffic laws when buses stop to pick up or drop off students.

She said she hopes the informational video will be completed by spring or summer.

Troopers created this graphic to educate drivers when to stop for school buses:

ABC 17 News is working to find out how many times drivers in Columbia have been reported for passing a stopped school bus with its stop arm out in the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 school years.

ABC 17 News is also working to find out if the driver in the video from Smith has been penalized.

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