As schools reopen, it is important to remember school bus safety.
Across the country, a disturbing trend has emerged where motorists who fail to stop for school buses in loading zones have caused an increase in fatalities. According to the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly half the deaths across the nation that occurred near school buses were attributed to motorists who failed to stop for a school bus that had activated its red lights and stop arm.
Drivers should be extra cautious as school resumes and remember these important safety rules. On a two-lane road, traffic must stop in both directions when the red lights flash and a school bus’s stop signal is extended. Use caution and be prepared to stop when the flashing lights are amber.
On a multiple-lane road, traffic traveling in the same direction of a school bus with flashing red lights and stop signal must stop behind the bus. Be prepared for a sudden stop any time you are driving near a school bus.
School zone speed limits are generally 20 mph during school hours and when children are present. It is unlawful for drivers to talk on cell phones while driving in a school zone.
Talk to your student about school bus safety and remember to pay special attention to school buses and school bus stops when driving.
Parents can play a critical role in keeping their children safe by coaching them to use good safety practices when waiting for a bus and getting on or off the bus. Parents are encouraged to teach their children to get on and off the school bus safely by:
Students should stay away from the “danger zone” when loading. The danger zone is the area approximately ten feet wide on all sides of the bus where children are most in danger of being hit.
When unloading, look before stepping off the bus to be sure no cars are passing on the shoulder (side of the road). Move away from the bus.
Before crossing the street, take five “giant steps” out from the front of the bus (Illinois has the school bus crossing arm) until you see the driver’s face. The driver will signal you when it is safe to cross the roadway.
Look left-right-left when coming to the edge of the bus to make sure traffic is stopped. Continue to watch for traffic when crossing.