School Bus Safety Week Keeps Us Mindful

October 13, 2016

I saw recently that the Utica, NY, Police Department was monitoring school speed zones around the city and was planning to carry out such traffic enforcement throughout the school year. Their goal, one TV report noted, was to create a safer environment for children who walk to school.

It’s amazing to me that some drivers don’t automatically slow down at school zones. What’s more precious than our children? In just one day at one elementary school, Utica police stopped eight speeders and issued a total of 14 tickets (some for unlicensed drivers!). (Did you know that if you drive more than 10 mph over the school speed limit in New York, you could face a few days in jail and a $600 fine?)

The school year is back in full swing and safety should be foremost in the minds of all of us. We should make sure we’re driving a safe and well-maintained vehicle, and we should make sure we’re safe out on the road. To help keep us mindful of that, National School Bus Safety Week is coming up Oct. 17-21. The National Association for Pupil Transportation has a few “top tips” for parents and drivers:

1. Walk with your kids to the bus stop and wait with them until the bus arrives. Tell kids to stand at least three giant steps back from the curb as the bus approaches and board the bus one at a time.

2. Teach kids to wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before getting off and never to walk behind the bus.

3. If your child needs to cross the street after exiting the bus, he or she should take five giant steps in front of the bus, make eye contact with the bus driver and cross when the driver indicates it’s safe. Teach kids to look left, right and left again before crossing the street.

4. Instruct younger kids to use handrails when boarding or exiting the bus. Be careful of straps or drawstrings that could get caught in the door. If your children drop something, they should tell the bus driver and make sure the bus driver is able to see them before they pick it up.

5. Drivers should always follow the speed limit and slow down in school zones and near bus stops. Remember to stay alert and look for kids who may be trying to get to or from the school bus.

6. Slow down and stop if you’re driving near a school bus that is flashing yellow or red lights. This means the bus is either preparing to stop (yellow) or already stopped (red), and children are getting on or off.


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