The start of the academic year for the Austin Independent School District has not been without incident as two students were struck by motorists illegally passing school buses.
Occurring only a day apart, the separate cases were captured on video taken from the school buses, the footage showing both students exiting their buses only to be hit by cars that failed to yield to them. One student, it should be noted, was even in a crosswalk when they were hit.
Neither student was seriously injured, both walking away with minor bumps and bruises, according to Kris Hafezizadeh, transportation director for Austin ISD.
Hafezizadeh was quickly notified by his drivers when the incidents happened, and he was able to review the footage taken at the scene almost immediately. He alerted district police to start an investigation, which resulted in both drivers being cited for illegal passing.
“These were the worst things that could happen to a director of transportation,” he said. “When you learn a child has been hit by any vehicle.”
Following these cases, Austin ISD Police have urged drivers to use caution when they approach school buses on the road, and stop when flashing lights and the stop arm is deployed. Officers have also asked parents to remind their children to look both ways when crossing the street.
Hafezizadeh was authorized to release the videos to the public in order to raise awareness for safety around school buses.
He hopes that the footage will remind people that “we are not paying as much attention as we should,” adding that drivers need to be “on the lookout for students.”