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Children throughout the area and country are starting back to school this week. Throughout the week, our blog will feature important safety information to keep in mind as kids go back to school. As children and school buses fill the road, we focus today on safety tips for motorists.
School buses are one of the safest forms of travel on the roads today. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, riding a bus to school is 10 times safer than walking and 13 times safer than taking a passenger car to school. Even with higher safety statistics, most children who are hurt are hurt outside of the school bus than as passengers. Most fatal injuries that occur in bus related incidents are pedestrians from four to seven years old who are hit by motorists illegally passing the school bus or by the bus itself. Because of this, it is important to know the laws and procedures for sharing the road with school buses.
· Never pass a school bus on the right hand side
· Be alert. While the rules of getting on and off a bus are fairly well known to children, children are still unpredictable. Kids walking to or from the bus are generally comfortable with their surroundings, making them more prone to ignore hazards surrounding them.
· All 50 states require that traffic in both directions stop on undivided roads when children are getting on or off of a school bus
· All 50 states have a law making it illegal to pass a stopped school bus that is picking up or dropping off students.
· Yellow lights on the school bus mean that the bus is about to stop to pick up or drop off students while red flashing lights and an extended stop sign signals to motorists that students are being picked up or dropped off.
· The 10 foot area around a bus is where children are in most danger. Be sure to stop your car far enough from the bus to allow for enough space.
These tips, provided by the National Safety Council, will ensure that children are safer to and from school. As you drive around the area, be mindful of school buses, children, and potential safety hazards that could lead to unnecessary injuries. Have a safe school year!