Family calls for caution after car ignores flashing school bus, kids waiting to cross highway

A family is urging drivers to stop for school buses before it’s too late.

Maria Channels recently took video of her grandchildren as they crossed Kamehameha Highway in Kaaawa.

The kids, who are in elementary school, get dropped off across the street from their home, but even with the stop signal out, a car does not stop for the kids.

Channels picks them up, and worries something bad will happen.

“The bus driver drops them off here. She swings out her yellow arm for my grandkids. The stop sign is out. Her light is blinking, and (cars) will zoom past her,” she said. “You can see the school bus. You have ample time to stop.”

That stretch of Kamehameha Highway has a speed limit of 35 miles per hour, but when you get to the bend, it’s 25 miles per hour. There’s also a flashing yellow light to warn drivers to slow down.

Family members say they sometimes see drivers do the opposite.

“Sometimes they take up both lanes and whip it around with no care,” said Chelsie Channels, the childrens’ aunt. “If you took your driver’s test, it is on there. You see a yellow bus. You’re already supposed to slow down. When the stop sign is out, it’s the law to stop.”

We asked family members if they believe where the school bus stops is dangerous. They say that’s not the issue. The problem is some drivers are not following the law.

So what exactly does the law say and is the drop-off point safe?

We called driving expert Steve Wong of Wong Way Driving Academy and showed him the video. He said the situation is “not good.”

“The bus driver has its stop sign out, so the vehicles from behind the bus and the vehicles approaching the front are supposed to stop,” Wong said. “The only time the opposing traffic doesn’t have to stop is if there is a raised barrier, you know, where the kids can’t cross over.”

“Do you think where the bus is stopped is dangerous for drivers?” KHON2 asked.

“That intersection could be a little dangerous, but clearly the stop signs can be seen from the front and the back,” Wong said. “School buses, they stop depending on where the children need to be dropped off.”

“One day a child will get banged and they will just say sorry, which won’t fix anything,” said Chelsie Channels.

A driver who violates this law could be fined up to $500 and/or sentenced to perform community service.

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