Sevier County (WVLT) - Across Tennessee, state troopers swapped their their patrol cars for school buses Tuesday. It's all to catch drivers who risk your child's safety during National School Bus Safety Week. State troopers rode in buses to watch for anyone who didn't stop for students getting off the bus.
Only Volunteer TV's Mike McCarthy rode along and shows us what they found.
It's the most dangerous part of Sixth Grader Moriah Raby's day.
"Every time I've rode this bus I really feel safe," Raby said.
To keep it that way, Tuesday she and all of Sevier County Schools Bus Five got a new bus buddy.
"They're all somebody's precious cargo," trooper Debbie Pafford said.
It's not what happens on the bus that's raised concerns. It's what happens when your students get off that's the problem.
"I usually have three of four cars a day probably that pass me in the afternoon when my stop sign's out," driver Sammy Ellis said.
A crime that could kill Raby or your bus-riding child.
"Me and my brother always look both ways before we cross the street and we make sure no one's going too fast," Raby said.
Tennessee State Trooper Debbie Pafford's also's on the look-out.
"Trying to catch any violators that might be passing the stop sign on the school buses," Pafford said.
And she's not alone.
"Basically I radio the unit that's following behind us...and at that point he'll engage his blue lights and get them pulled over," Pafford said.
For bus driver Sammy Ellis it's....
"Much needed back up. There's not a whole lot we can do. Sometimes I'll blow my horn or try to get their tag numbers, but sometimes you can't," Ellis said.
Ellis got the back-up as part of National School Bus Safety Week.
"Are we coming up to our first stop?" Pafford said.
It's when the bus stops and the yellow lights flash you need to slow down, then stop when you see red. Drivers did on Tuesday, but THP's already written nearly 1,200
tickets in school zones this year.
"It's not a one time thing. It's all year long that we're watching and looking," Pafford said.
"I always look forward to riding the bus," Raby said.
And your child get home safe.
THP says even if you're on a four lane highway you must stop of buses. The only exception's if they highway's divided by a physical barrier, not just a turn lane. Last year state troopers wrote more than 6,500 tickets in school zones across the state.