Are you paying attention?

It really is a question about how much children mean to us. Are they precious enough for us to pay just a little bit of attention while we are driving?

Not for some people — and that includes a few right here in our area.

We doubt there is a school bus driver in our area who has not watched in shock, fear and anger as motorists ignored flashing red lights and extended stop sign arms to pass his or her big yellow bus. It happens frequently, despite law enforcement agencies’ focused attempts to stop it.

That puts children at great risk as they cross streets and highways, either to get on buses or as they disembark to go home.

Last week, five American children were killed by motorists for whom paying a little attention was too much of a bother.

Three siblings — a 9-year-old girl and her twin 6-year-old brothers — were killed when they were struck by a pickup truck near Rochester, Ind. The children were crossing the road to get on their school bus, which was stopped with red lights flashing and a stop sign displayed.

A 24-year-old woman who was driving the truck has been arrested. She insists she just didn’t notice the bus.

A similar situation occured in Baldwyn, Miss. A 9-year-old boy died.

And in Franklin Township, Pa., a 7-year-old boy was killed at his school bus stop, by a hit-and-run driver.

All five children died because drivers did not care enough for children to slow down just a little and watch for stopped school buses and/or children on streets and highways.

That occurs regularly in our area, as school bus drivers and law enforcement officers and deputies can testify.

Also a frequent occurrence is motorists zipping through plainly marked school zones — with children present — at well over the 15 mph speed limit.

It is something of a miracle that there have been no serious accidents in our area involving stopped school buses or school zones during the past several years. At some point, our luck will run out.

Please, pay enough attention that when a big, yellow school bus with flashing red lights and a stop sign is on the road in front of you, you see it.

The same goes for school zones where children are present at the same times each and every weekday.

Or is that too much of an inconvenience for you?

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