School bus:patrol car mlh.jpg

A Georgia State trooper pulls out in front of cars on Cleveland Highway to keep them from passing a school bus dropping off children Thursday. Matt Hamilton/The Daily Citizen

Dalton Daily Citizen

State law requires drivers to stop any time the red lights are on and the stop sign is out on a school bus — but they don’t always do it.

With support from Georgia first lady Sandra Deal, who has been touring the state on a “Stop means stop” campaign to raise awareness, Georgia State Patrol troopers are wrapping up a weeklong effort through the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety to crack down on drivers who don’t stop for school buses.

Cpl. David Phillips of the Dalton State Patrol post said many drivers ignore the law when they’re on a multi-laned road such as Cleveland Highway.

“When it’s an open five- or six-lane road, it doesn’t matter,” he said. “If there’s no division (such as a grassy median or concrete barrier) between the north and the south lanes ... all the traffic from both directions has to stop.”

A turn lane is not considered a “division.”

Phillips said troopers are following many buses home this week to raise awareness and stop drivers who break the law. He said some areas of high concern — and of high violation — are Abutment Road, Airport Road, Cleveland Highway, Shugart Road and Waugh Street.

Fines range from $300 for the first offense to $1,000 for third and subsequent offenses over five years.

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