Study Up on School Bus Safety

This week is National School Bus Safety Week. With approximately 26 million children in the U.S. riding the bus to school each day, we all need to be reminded of the special safety hazards that accompany school bus transportation. Keep these safety tips in mind:

  • Give yourself plenty of time when dropping off kids at school.  Avoid having to “rush.”  Be patient – kids don’t always have the same concern for schedules that we as adults do.
  • Watch for kids on bicycles and walking, especially in the mornings and after school hours.  Children can be unpredictable and may not remember to look both ways when crossing the street or walking to/from the school bus.  Take a few extra seconds to look for kids at intersections.
  • Do not talk or text on cell phones while driving (including “hands free” devices), especially in school zones.  In some states, cell phone use is illegal in school zones (check your local laws).  Child pedestrians are more concentrated in school zones and drivers need to be focused on driving.  No call or text is worth the risk.
  • School buses make frequent stops, so be alert.  Watch for the flashing lights:
    • Yellow flashing lights indicate the school bus is preparing to stop.
    • Red flashing lights and an extended stop arm indicates the school bus is stopped and loading or unloading children.
    • All 50 states require traffic in both directions to stop on undivided roads when a school bus is loading or unloading.  State laws vary as to requirements on divided roads (check your local laws).  However, traffic traveling in the same direction as the school bus is always required to stop.  Stop well back from a stopped school bus, at least 10 feet.

These are just a few tips.  For more tips, refer to Central’s School Bus Safety Tip Sheet. Let’s keep our kids safe, not just this week, but all school year long!

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