Back to School, Back to Safety
School is back in session, and every morning on the way to and from work, the roads are filled with school buses and school zones changing the flow of traffic. It is easy to get distracted while trying to make it to the office on time or checking a quick email, but drivers need to be careful to follow the laws designed to protect school children on their way to and from school.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an average of 20 children is killed in school bus loading and unloading accidents each year. Between 2003 and 2012, 174 students died in school-transportation related accidents. Of these, 55 were in vehicles and 119 were pedestrians. Here are simple things to keep in mind to help:
- Don’t pass a stopped school bus on an undivided road! However, there is no need to stop if the if there is a median or physical barrier between oncoming lanes of traffic.
- Look for school children on foot! Always make sure that the children have safely exited the school bus and cleared the roadway before continuing your route.
- Yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk! School children and other pedestrians have the right-of-way when walking across the road in a crosswalk. You, as a driver, must yield to the school children.
- Don’t stop in a crosswalk! This forces school children outside of the crosswalk and into vehicular traffic.
- Take cues from the crossing guard! Crossing guards may alert you to school children who are not tall enough to be in your line of vision.
- Slow down in school zones! This will help you brake more quickly if school children wander out into the road.