13 Dallas County School Bus Drivers Fired, 229 Suspended After NBC 5 Investigation Uncovers Ticket Scandal

An NBC 5 investigation found bus drivers for Dallas County Schools breaking the law by running red lights hundreds of times across North Texas.

Records obtained by NBC 5 Investigates found more than 480 traffic citations have been issued to school bus drivers since Jan. 1, 2014. In some cases bus drivers were even caught on camera running past other school buses that had their stop arms extended for loading or unloading students.

On Tuesday, Dallas County Schools told NBC 5 Investigates that 13 school bus drivers have been fired and 229 drivers will be suspended without pay for five to nine days as a result of the investigation -- that is about 10 percent of the agency's drivers.

"It is inexcusable of a bus driver to ever do that. They know better," said Dallas County Schools' Board President Larry Duncan.

Duncan wasn't just outraged by the driving in the videos, but the investigation also found Dallas County Schools had never punished the drivers involved.

Instead, the district spent $80,000 of taxpayer money to pay the fines and never tracked down the drivers responsible.

When asked why no one at the district was holding drivers accountable, Duncan said there was no excuse on multiple levels.

He said two senior managers have also been demoted because of failure to follow district procedures and lack of oversight.

"You found a problem. We owned it and we fixed it. We are taking the steps necessary – both systemic and personnel – so that this will not and cannot happen again," said Duncan.

The district said it will have to stagger the driver suspensions, because suspending 229 school bus drivers all at once could cause chaos for the bus system.

The district is also demanding that drivers repay the fines they caused.

It's also not clear how many times children were on board the buses that violated the law, but either way school officials say there is no excuse because red-light running puts other drivers on the road in danger.

NBC 5 Law Enforcement Expert Don Peritz, a former traffic commander with the Dallas County Sheriff's Department, viewed several videos that captured school bus drivers running red lights.

One video shows a bus driver nearly rear-ending a car, then whipping into another lane before running the red light.

"Now, you have bus drivers ignoring the red signal and endangering everyone around them because they're – either way – in such a hurry or not paying attention," said Peritz.

Wednesday on NBC 5 News: Hear the reaction from other school districts where these buses transport students, and NBC 5 Investigates will have a closer look at how we uncovered this scandal.

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