The beginning of another academic year is just around the corner! Expect to soon see many yellow school buses and children with backpacks crossing the streets. During this school year, not only parents but every driver must be reminded to practice caution and good judgment when using the roadways.
School buses are the main source of transportation for students, and also one of the safest. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, students are eight times safer riding in a bus to school than any form of travel. Unfortunately, there are more children who are hurt outside the school bus than inside as passengers. Many times, they are hit by drivers illegally passing a stopped school bus.
What are laws and tips for sharing the road with school buses?
1) It is illegal to pass a school bus that is stopped for students entering or exiting the vehicle. School buses use colored lights, similar to traffic lights, to alert motorists: yellow flashing to signify preparing to stop, red with an extended stop sign arm to signal to stop for children.
2) Stop for stopped school buses. All motor vehicles heading in either direction at an undivided roadway must stop when children are entering or exiting a school bus. For divided roadways, traffic on the same side of the road as a stopped school bus must also stop. Never pass a stopped school bus on the right. It is both illegal and very dangerous.
3) Be sure to stop your car at least 10 feet from a stopped school bus to allow for children passing.
4) Be alert for children walking to and from a school bus, as well as near schools, bus stops and in school parking lots. Children are not always aware of their surroundings, and may ignore roadway hazards.
5) Obey all speed limits, and drive with caution – especially when traveling through marked school zones or near bus stops. Scan these ‘hot spots’ for pedestrians.
6) Do not tailgate a school bus and allow a bus the right-of-way when merging into traffic.
7) Put your cell phone down while driving. Texts and phone calls should wait until your car is parked. It only takes a second to accidentally hit a child crossing the street.
Now that children will be heading back to school, please practice safe driving procedures. Let’s ensure students get to the school safe and sound! If you or a loved one is injured by a negligent driver, please contact Rutter Mills Law Firm for a free, no obligation consultation of your legal rights.