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With school resuming across the state, the Mississippi Highway Patrol is reminding motorists to be careful driving around school buses and in school zones.

The agency announced its Safe Transport of Pupils (S.T.O.P.) traffic safety imitative, and will be closely monitoring school bus loading and unloading points, and will be conducting saturation patrols in school zones.

MHP Troop G public affairs officer Derrick Beckom said the imitative was designed to help motorists remember to drive safely in school zones. He pointed to several incidents across the state last year, in which children were injured or killed by motorists while attempting to board or exit school buses.            

However, he emphasized the initiative was built more as a preventative measure than a response to any incident in particular

A press release From MHP state encouraged motorists to wok together with troopers to be safe around schools.

Motorists in Mississippi are also required to follow “Nathan’s Law,” a set of rules named for Nathan Key, a 5-year old Jones County boy who was killed when a driver attempted to illegally pass the school bus he was disembarking. The law requires motorists to stop at least 10 feet from the bus while the bus is unloading or loading children, prohibits bus drivers from using electronics at the wheel, increases the fine for passing a stopped school bus, authorizes cameras to be added to school bus stops and required at least 10 questions relating to school bus safety to appear on the state driver’s license test. It also authorized a charge of felony assault and a prison sentence of up to 20 years for motorists who cause injury or death in the act of illegally passing a stopped school bus.

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