Tips for school bus safety for motorists and children

| August 21, 2017

COSHOCTON – Schools are back in session and drivers need to be more aware of children who may be walking to school and school busses making their stops. Children need to be reminded how to be safe as they ride to school or special events.

Ridgewood Local School District transports about 700 students every day, according to Doug Patterson, Transportation Supervisor for the district. Every year, at the beginning of the school year, Patterson teaches a bus safety class to the district’s Kindergarten through 3rd grade students.

“Even if they don’t ride a bus to school, they come to the class,” said Patterson. “They need to know the rules, because it’s likely they will be riding a bus for a special event at some point.”

The class is about half an hour and the students actually get to ride a bus. Patterson teaches them the main rule on the bus which is how to sit. The students are told “Seat on seat, back on back, feet on the floor.” This is the safest way for students to ride the bus and he encourages parents to talk to their children about this easy way to remember how to sit correctly on the bus.

“Drivers need to consider giving themselves extra time during times when students are being transported to school, such as 6 – 8 a.m. and 2:30 – 4:30 p.m.,” said Patterson. “Also, please be aware of the flashing lights on the buses. Yellow means the bus is about to stop and drivers should be aware. Red means all drivers need to stop and cannot move until the bus turns those red lights off and begins to move.”

He also wants to remind drivers that children may run around the bus and into the street so everyone needs to be extra careful.

Patterson also advises parents to remind their children to wait in their “designated place of safety.” Every student will be shown where their spot is and students are to wait there until the driver signals them to load the bus. Students are also to wait in that spot when they get off the bus. This is to be sure the driver can see each student before they drive away.

Jennifer Andrews, Transportation Supervisor of Coshocton City Schools, also wants drivers to be more aware of the flashing lights on the school buses.

“When the red stop sign is extended on a bus, drivers must stop,” she said. “This is the law. When drivers pass a stopped bus, they are endangering children. When a bus driver sees someone pass their stopped bus, they do get license plate numbers and turn them in.”

Andrews also advises parents to remind their children to stay in their designated place of safety until their driver signals to them.

Andrews shared a school bus safety flyer that included these rules for parents to discuss with their children.

  • Avoid the “danger zone” around the bus.
  • Don’t stop to pick up something near the bus. The driver may not be able to see them.
  • Remember that drivers may not stop for the school bus.
  • Be careful when getting on or off the bus.

Parents are also encouraged to dress their children in light-colored clothing or jackets on dark mornings. Also, make sure the child’s clothing and backpacks are safe. No drawstrings or key chains hanging that may catch as the child is getting on or off the bus.

Motorists are reminded that they must stop for a stopped school bus that is flashing red lights and has the stop sign extended. If the bus is stopped on a road that has less than four lanes, all traffic must stop. If the bus is stopped on a road with four or more lanes, only traffic traveling in the same direction must stop.  Motorists cannot proceed until the bus moves or the bus driver signals they may move.

Patterson and Andrews ask the motorists be more aware of their school buses. A split second can cost a child’s life and no motorist’s destination is as important as student safety.

Category: Education

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