In 2020, School Bus Safety Week takes place October on 19-23 and the theme is “Red Lights Mean STOP!”
Under Section 257.682 of Michigan Vehicle Code, drivers must stop for a school bus that is displaying flashing red lights with at least 20 feet of distance, and they may not proceed or overtake the vehicle until the school bus resumes motion or turns off its visual warning signals. Only drivers on the opposite side of a divided highway are exempt from this rule, which typically applies nationwide.
Knowing that red lights mean stop is an important part of school bus safety, but to observe National School Bus Safety Week, Goodman Acker P.C. has put together some of the most popular school bus safety tips from around the web.
Safety Tips for Parents
Safety starts when you are helping your kids get ready for school. As a parent, you can encourage your children to wear bright colors that make them easier to see and help them pack their belongings in a backpack or school bus so they don’t drop things on or near the roadway.
Make sure to walk younger children to the bus stop and supervise them while they wait. You can ask older children to walk in groups. Leave home or shuffle children out on time so your students can be at least 5 minutes early for the bus. Show your children where to wait for the bus (6 feet – or 3 big steps – away from the curb) and remind them not to run or play at the bus stop.
When your children get home, wait for them at the bus stop on the same side they get out, so they do not dart across the street to greet you.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
“The greatest risk to your child is not riding a bus, but approaching or leaving one.”
Teach your kids about traffic safety and the rules of the road before they ride the bus for the first time.
Safety Tips for Students
Riding on a school bus is exciting and the NHTSA says it is the safest way to get to school. When you take the bus, remember to arrive early, stay at least 3 giant steps (or 6 feet) from the curb, and stay calm and alert while lining up or chatting with friends.
When the bus arrives, wait until it comes to a full stop to move closer. Do not get on the bus until the door opens and the driver invites you inside. Use the handrails to help you keep your balance. Be careful that clothing and backpacks do not get caught in the handrails or the door when you get on or off the bus.
If you drop something near the bus, do not lean down to pick it up. Instead, tell the bus driver what happened and wait for them to help you.
Never walk behind a bus. If you need to cross the street, walk at least 10 feet (or 5 giant steps) in front of the bus, make eye contact with the driver, and wait for the driver to indicate it’s safe before crossing. Anytime you cross the street, look left, right, and left again to make sure you can make it to the other side safely.
Be safe when riding the bus, as well. Buckle up if seatbelts are available and stay seated until the bus comes to a full stop and the driver opens the doors. Keep your head, arms, and belongings inside the bus and out of aisles. Talk quietly and don’t make any loud or distracting noises – they could distract the driver.
Safety Tips for Drivers
School buses are highly visible and protected by the law. It is illegal to pass a school bus while it is dropping off or picking up passengers. In addition to following the laws that protect school buses, you should also watch for students before and after the school day.
Consumer Reports emphasizes:
“The danger is real: More school-age pedestrians have been killed from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. than any other time of day.”
They also provide some tips to help ensure you’re not part of the problem when you are behind the wheel:
- Look out for children walking or bicycling to school, especially when backing out of a driveway or leaving a garage.
- Follow the speed limit at all times.
- Be alert, as children who are late for the bus may dart into the road or behave unpredictably.
- Drive slowly and watch for children while in neighborhoods or school zones.
- Watch for children playing and congregating near bus stops.
- Know the signals: yellow flashing lights mean the bus is preparing to stop and you should slow down. Red flashing lights (and extended stop sign arms) mean to stop until the bus indicates otherwise.
Bus drivers can also prioritize safety during School Bus Safety Week by participating in a Refresher Training module, available online from the NHTSA.
No one wants to get hurt while commuting to school nor hurt someone while heading to work. Unfortunately, accidents happen.
If your child gets injured on a school bus or hit by a negligent driver on the way to school, Goodman Acker P.C. can help.
We understand how delicate bus accidents can be, especially when they involve young children. We also have the compassion and experience you need to get through them.
Call us at (248) 286-8100 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation with Detroit’s Trusted Law Firm.