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MassDOT Registry of Motor Vehicles inspectors and local police handed out 110 citations in 160 cities and towns during a statewide undercover operation targeting drivers who illegally pass school buses while picking up and dropping off students.

This is the seventh year the RMV has organized "Operation Yellow Blitz" to put a spotlight on the danger such activity poses on a daily basis.

"We want to get the word out that drivers on both sides of the road need to stop when school buses pick up or drop off children," said Registrar Rachel Kaprielian who accompanied the surveillance team in Watertown last week. "Those who would ignore a stopped school bus risk injuring a child. Without exception, all traffic approaching a school bus with red flashing lights must stop."

Registrar Kaprielian said the number of participating communities increases every year, up from 30 in 2007 and 110 in 2009, and that Operation Yellow Blitz results reveal that while many people are conscientious while driving near a school bus, there is still an alarming lack of awareness.

School bus drivers, police and parents frequently inform the RMV of the danger posed by motorists who refuse to stop for a school bus. Violators face a $250 citation for a first offense and $1,000 fine and six month license suspension for a second violation within two years.

Operation Yellow Blitz is an annual program targeting problem intersections and roadways. But school bus drivers are on the lookout for non-compliant drivers every day. Drivers write down offending driver license plate numbers and report them to the RMV. Repeat violators face the possibility of an administrative hearing that can result in a driver’s license suspension or revocation.  In 2010, the RMV sent out 2,154 warning letters. So far this year, 1,625 warning letters have gone out.

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