Summer has waned and the start of school has just begin. Law enforcement across the state encourages drivers to cut down distractions and concentrate on the road as kids of all ages get back to school.
Children are often eager to get on and off the bus
* Always arrive at the bus stop early.
* Prior to boarding, wait until the bus has some to a complete stop, the door is opened and the bus driver says that it’s okay to board.
* Once on board, proceed quickly to a seat and stay sitting until the bus arrives at the school or other drop off location.
* Do not move around on the bus.
* Always walk on the sidewalk when preparing to cross the street near a bus. Students should make eye contact with the driver so that they know the driver sees them.
* Never walk behind the bus.
* When walking beside the bus, be at least 10 feet (10 “giant” steps) away.
* Take extra precaution to make sure clothing with drawstrings and book bags do not get caught in the hand rail or door.
* Never stop to pick up dropped items while the bus is stopped. Wait until the bus has driven off to avoid not being seen by the driver.
Tips for motorists
* Remember children are unpredictable in their actions. Take extreme caution when traveling in a school zone.
* Be more aware of children playing near school bus stops.
* Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs.
* Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.
* Reduce any distractions inside the car in order to concentrate on the road and surroundings.
* Put down your phone; don’t talk or text while driving.
* Slow down and prepare to stop for flashing yellow school bus lights.
* Never pass a school bus when there are flashing red lights. This is a sign that children are getting off the bus; it’s the law.
Other things to consider
When traveling to and from school, students should plan a walking route to school or the bus stop. Choose the most direct way with the fewest street crossings and, if possible, with intersections that have crossing guards. Children should walk to and from school or the bus stop with a sibling, friend or neighbor.
Teach kids, whether walking, biking or riding the bus to school, to obey all traffic signals, signs and traffic officers. Remind them to be extra careful in bad weather. If a child bikes to school, make sure they wear a helmet that meets safety standards. If your child rides a scooter to school, make sure they wear sturdy shoes, a helmet, knee pads and elbow pads. Children under 12 should not ride motorized scooters.
Parents should walk the route with their child before the first day of school. Tell them to stay away from parks, vacant lots, fields and other places where there aren’t many people around.
Children should be taught never to talk to strangers, accept rides from strangers, or accept gifts from strangers. Remember, a stranger is anyone you or your children don’t know well or don’t trust.
When driving kids, parents should deliver and pick them up as close to the school as possible. Parents should’t leave until the kids are in the schoolyard or building.
Children should know their home (or parents’ cellular) phone number(s) and address. They should also know where their parents work, their work phone number, the phone number of another trusted adult and how to call 911 for emergencies.