More than 22 million U.S. students ride school buses daily, according to officials of the National Safe Kids Campaign. Each year, approximately 390,000 public school buses travel about 4.2 billion miles!
It’s especially important to slow down and watch out for kids at the beginning of the school year. Students are excited, apprehensive, not familiar with the new school schedule and may not pay attention to traffic safety practices. Children are not small adults and may not have the skills to cope with traffic. Be aware that ALL drivers are responsible for child safety near school zones or school buses.
Normal traffic also means highways that will be filled by large and small yellow buses. Twice each day (and sometimes more often) these buses carry the nation’s most valuable cargo to and from their homes. During these “bus rush hours” school buses are extremely disruptive to normal traffic flow. They stop frequently and often drive slowly, resulting in long lines of traffic behind the bus. For the rest of the driving public, this can easily lead to frustrations. Don’t let yourself get caught in this trap!
Patience is a virtue. Accept the fact that during these two or three times a day, school buses will be picking up and discharging someone’s child. Perhaps your child is also being transported to and from school. Allow a little extra time so the normal delay caused by the buses don’t throw you behind schedule or cause you to rush to make up time.
Remember these tips:
- All traffic from both directions MUST stop when bus lights are flashing red and STOP signs are extended.
- Never pass a stopped school bus loading or unloading children—it’s the law!
- If you see yellow flashing lights prepare to stop—not speed up to pass the bus quickly. Begin moving again only when the red flashing lights are turned off, the stop arem is withdrawn and the bus begins to move.
- Be alert for kids who might dart into the street without looking.
- Watch for students playing and gathering near a bus stop.
- Slow down and observe posted speed limits in school zones at all times. Look for children walking in the street, especially if there are no sidewalks.