With the start of another school year, drivers are reminded to be on the lookout for students who may be walking or bicycling to or from school, waiting for the school bus or who have just exited the bus.
The National Transportation Safety Administration offers these reminders for drivers.
- When backing out of a driveway or leaving a garage, watch out for children walking or bicycling to school.
- When driving in neighborhoods with school zones, watch out for young people who may be thinking about getting to school, but may not be thinking of getting there safely.
- Slow down. Watch for children walking in the street, especially if there are no sidewalks in the neighborhood.
- Slow down. Watch for children playing and congregating near bus stops.
- Be alert. Children arriving late for the bus may dart into the street without looking for traffic.
- Observe the posted speed limit in school zones.
- Learn and obey the school bus laws. It is illegal in Kentucky to pass a stopped school bus in either direction on a two-lane road if the warning lights on the bus are on. Learn the "flashing signal light system" that school bus drivers use to alert motorists of pending actions:
- Yellow flashing lights indicate that the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children. Motorists should slow down and prepare to stop their vehicles.
- Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate that the bus has stopped, and that children are getting on or off. Motorists must stop their cars and wait until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop sign is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving before they can start driving again.
While school buses remain one of the safest modes of transportation, parents are encouraged to talk with their children about bus safety and have them follow some basic safety tips.
- Get to the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive.
- When the bus approaches, stand at least three giant steps (6 feet) away from the curb, and line up away from the street.
- Wait until the bus stops, the door opens, and the driver says that it's okay before stepping onto the bus.
- If you have to cross the street in front of the bus, walk on the sidewalk or along the side of the road to a point at least five giant steps (10 feet) ahead of the bus before you cross. Be sure that the bus driver can see you, and you can see the bus driver.
- Use the handrails to avoid falls. When exiting the bus, be careful that clothing with drawstrings, and book bags with straps don't get caught in the handrails or doors.
- Never walk behind the bus.
- Walk at least three giant steps away from the side of the bus.
- If you drop something near the bus, tell the bus driver. Never try to pick it up because the driver may not be able to see you.
In addition, students should avoid roughhousing and loud conversations on the bus which can be distracting to the driver.