Driving in back-to-school traffic? Here’s what you should keep in mind

Students across the region are heading back to school in the next few weeks

Passing a buss? You could face jail time

ROANOKE, Va. – As students return to the classroom, you can expect to share the road with more school buses, and flashing school zone lights are not the only thing drivers should be on the lookout for.

Nearly 150 school buses are back on the roads in Roanoke County.

With rough mountainous terrain in the area, Chuck Lionberger with Roanoke County Public Schools said to give buses at least 20 feet of space on their routes.

“We have a lot of mountainous terrains,” Lionberger said. “These are school buses they are not just going to jump up right and down the hill. They’re going to be a little slow coming up the hills especially if there is a really good pull there.”

When flashing red lights come on and the stop sign comes out, drivers must halt.

If drivers don’t, cameras on Botetourt County buses will catch drivers in the act and they will take them to court.

“Please take an extra minute even if you are late to wherever you are going,” Botetourt County Public Schools Superintendent Jon Russ said. “You do not want to end your life because you injured a child because you were in a hurry.”

This year, Botetourt County upgraded its camera technology to clearly identify license plate tags and drivers.

And when they find those that don’t abide by the law, harsh penalties will be expected.

“Faces the possibility of a class one misdemeanor which is up to 12 months in jail or a 2500 fine and this generally prosecuted as reckless driving.” Botetourt County Sheriff Matthew Ward said.

Ward added that drivers can expect to see extra patrol on the roads because child safety is their main priority.

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Alexus joined 10 News in October 2020.