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Driver Distraction Alleged in Mississippi School Bus Stop Death

The superintendent of Pontotoc County School District in northeast Mississippi is urging that local motorists must obey school bus stop laws, after a student was killed by a motorist after exiting the school bus.

Seven-year-old Amiyah Braxton was just steps from her home Tuesday afternoon when a SUV ignored the stopped bus she had just left and struck her. She was rushed to a local hospital where she died of her injuries. According to Amiyah’s parents, she saved her brother’s life by pushing him out of the path of the oncoming vehicle.

Brock Puckett, superintendent for PCSD and a former school bus driver, told School Transportation News that the tragedy appeared to be another example of driver distraction.

“I know in our fast paced society that is hyper-connected and addicted to the sound of our text message notification. We can hardly resist looking at or sending a superfluous message, but really how many life changing text messages have you gotten while driving that couldn’t wait until you got stopped somewhere?” he said. “We are not sure yet what caused the driver to be distracted in our incident. It may be unrelated to cell phone usage, but when I was driving a bus, I had a handful of near accidents with people engaged with their cell phone or radio.”

Puckett said that motorists must exercise additional caution between the normal school commute times of 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., when most school buses are out on routes. The small district is located about 100 miles southeast of Memphis and transports roughly 2,500 students per day, each way. This equates to at least 2,000 stops a day where an illegal passing incident can occur, Puckett said.

“I just ask to be overly cautious during those aforementioned times, and yellow lights on a bus do not mean speed up,” he added.

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