WILSON COUNTY -- Even though passing a stopped school bus is against the law, many drivers are still guilty of it. In Wilson County, anyone passing a school bus may be closer to a Texas DPS trooper than they think.
It’s not the person you expect to see on a school bus, but at any given moment a Texas DPS trooper in Wilson County could be sitting right behind a Floresville Independent School District bus driver. And if that’s the case, the trooper is looking for drivers who aren’t stopping for the school bus -- a common violation the Floresville ISD is hoping to crack down on.
“They don’t know if the trooper is there or not, and if he is there they will be stopped and they will receive a citation and I believe it’s a hefty fine,” said Beaver Wallace, transportation director for the Floresville Independent School District.
The troopers are riding the bus on sporadic days and there’s no guarantee when they will be on there. If a trooper spots a driver violating the law they will call another trooper in the area. That second trooper will pull the driver over and issue a citation with a fine ranging from $200 to $1,000. In just a matter of weeks there’s already been numerous violators.
“They’re surprised by how they were seen, but typically they accept what’s going on,” said Texas DPS Sgt. Ryan Christian.
Drivers not stopping for school buses have always been a problem for the area, but has reportedly gotten worse since the oil boom.
“It’s become a huge problem here lately with all the traffic that has increased in this county due to the Eagle Ford Shale and all companies and stuff coming in,” Wallace said.
“There’s a noticeable increase in the traffic," Christian added. "From the people who have been here a long time, they can tell you it’s nothing like it was two years ago."
Wallace said troopers riding on school buses will hopefully curb antsy drivers in Floresville and also across the state.
“I think it will bring awareness to the community and the surrounding areas," he said. "It will probably help all school districts in the state of Texas."
The district and DPS are hoping to continue the new program through at least the end of the school year. They’re hoping to continue it next school year, too.