Special to The Dallas Examiner
During a recent national stop arm survey, the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation found there could be more than 15 million illegal stop-arm passes during a school year. School buses are often overlooked by distracted drivers who don’t notice the bus lights until it’s too late.
National School Bus Safety Week is Oct. 22 through Oct. 26. To commemorate the national observance, First Student, the leading school transportation solutions provider in North America and school bus provider for independent school districts throughout Dallas/Fort Worth, has provided helpful reminders and tips to keep children safe.
Top five things motorists can do to keep bus riders safe
- Maintain a safe distance
School buses stop frequently. Leave plenty of distance between your car and the bus in front of you so you can safely apply the brakes once yellow lights start to flash.
- Stop for stop arms
Red flashing lights and an extended stop arm mean a child is entering or exiting the bus. On two-lane roadways, come to a complete stop (in either direction) until the stop arm and red lights are deactivated.
- Never pass from behind
Passing a stopped school bus from behind as it loads and unloads children is illegal in all 50 states.
- Give riders plenty of room
Children are hard to see within the 10-foot area surrounding a school bus. When stopping, help keep children safe by giving them plenty of room to get on or off the bus.
- Know your state laws
State laws regarding when to pass a stopped school bus on a roadway with four or more lanes can vary. To learn more, contact your local Department of Motor Vehicles.
Top five bus safety tips for children
- Stand back
Stay 10 giant steps away from the outside of the bus at all times. If you stand too close, the bus driver can’t see you.
- Wait for OK to cross
Wait until your bus driver gives you the OK sign or thumbs-up before crossing the street.
- Use the handrail
Heavy backpacks and wet shoes are no match for the handrail. Hold on tight when getting on and off the bus to keep from tripping or slipping.
- Sit the right way
Once you sit down, keep both feet flat on the floor and your back against the seat.
- Be still until the bus completely stops
It’s fun to be first, but it’s more important to be patient. Wait for the bus to completely stop before you try to get on board. And always stay in your seat while the bus is moving.