An unimaginable tragedy occurred this week in Northern Indiana when three siblings were hit and killed as they were attempting to board the school bus on their way to school. The driver of the vehicle that struck the children claims she saw the flashing lights, but did not recognize the lights as a stopped bus until it was too late. Tragically, school bus stop accidents also occurred in Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and Florida this week resulting in 2 additional deaths and 5 being hospitalized. For the safety of children everywhere, it is absolutely imperative that drivers familiarize themselves with, and follow, school bus and school zone safety laws for their states. A few simple safety tips can go a long way to keeping everyone safe:
Safety Tips for Drivers:
When backing out of a driveway or leaving your garage, watch out for children walking or bicycling to school or the bus stop.
When driving in school zones, always reduce your speed and be ready to stop quickly if necessary.
Be alert and watch for children playing and congregating near bus stops. They may dart quickly or be unaware of traffic.
Learn and obey school bus laws for your state.
Learn the flashing light signal system that school bus drivers use: yellow flashing lights indicate an impending stop. Drivers should slow down and be prepared to stop. Red flashing lights and extended stop arm indicate students are getting on or off the bus and motorists MUST stop. Always err on the side of stopping if you are unsure what the bus is trying to signal.
Safety Tips for Children and Parents:
Get to the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is expected to arrive.
As the bus approaches, stand at least 6 feet away from the curb where the bus expected to stop, and line up away from the street.
Wait until the bus stops and the driver says it is safe before approaching the bus.
Never walk behind the bus, and if you have to walk alongside the bus, walk at least 6 feet away.
If you drop something near the bus, tell the bus driver. Never pick something up off the ground near the bus because the driver may not be able to see you.