Parents concerned about risky drivers at Palm Bay bus stop

PALM BAY, Fla. — Parents in Palm Bay said it's bad enough that their children have to cross a busy road to get to their bus stop. There's also a problem with cars speeding past school buses while their children try to board their bus.

Malabar Road at Krassner Drive is a busy road any time of day, but during the morning and afternoon, when school buses are out, it's even busier and more dangerous.

Cellphone video showed a car passing a bus as it stops to pick up students at the bus stop. The students can be seen preparing to cross the street when the bus comes to a stop but a car going the other way doesn't stop.

Parents said it's an ongoing problem, and too many times, their children almost get hit.

Matthew St. John, who has a 12-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter, said it was hard to believe when his wife told him that people drive past the flashing red lights of the school bus almost every day until he saw for himself.

"When our schedules changed and I was out here with my son, the first day I was out here, sure enough somebody ran the blinking red light," he said.

Palm Bay police have increased patrols there, but so far haven't caught any drivers passing the red lights on the bus.

"It's a major concern at any bus stop, but for that one, the road is a major thoroughfare for us," Palm Bay police Lt. Steve Bland said.

Police pulled over drivers who passed by the flashing yellow lights, before the bus comes to a stop, to remind drivers to be extra cautious.

St. John showed Channel 9 a photo he took of police pulling over a vehicle that passed the bus and said their extra patrols have made a difference.

But he now takes extreme measures to be on the safe side.

"Because it's been such a problem, we actually drive across the street and pull around, so my son doesn't have to cross the street," he said.

A school district spokesman told Channel 9 it takes the issue very seriously and it does an annual survey of bus drivers to try to identify the worst areas.

Overall, they've already found a 14 percent increase in violations this year over last.