Back To School Tips For Increased School Bus Safety

Editorial Schools open this week. Be alert for kids

David Palacio

Additionally, it is illegal to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children.

Hale, the safety director for the Owatonna Bus Company, is hoping to see no more children nearly struck by cars this year as they return to school.

Kate Ott, Deputy Health Director for Ontario County wants to remind motorists how important it is to stop for school buses who are stopped with their lights on.

Ott said some people, when asked after passing a stopped bus, say they didn't even see the bus; she asks drivers to keep school busses in mind even when they become commonplace once again. "They are actually using yard signs to advertise for school bus drivers".

Come to a complete stop.

"When a bus stops and the red lights are alternating it means you have to stop and both directions must stop and wait for the driver to clear and shut off those lights and the driver won't do that until the children are completely safe and clear from the bus", says Cpl. Gross misdemeanors can be met with jail time and fines up to $3,000.

"It's up to the judicial system to enforce those fines", said Knowles.

Hale said his company regularly sends reports of stop arm violations to local police agencies, including descriptions, diagrams, and sometimes even video footage. "It's the bus driver witnessing it".

"We have surveillance systems in the bus".

"From coast-to-coast and border-to-border, there's concern with trying to fill that seat behind the steering wheel on those school buses", Christensen says.

As kids get ready for a new school year, AAA is working with city officials to keep the roads safe, launching a new campaign: School's Open, Drive Carefully. And this year in particular, he warns that some drivers and walkers might be unfamiliar with their routes.

Slow down. School zone speed limits are reduced for a reason. "Also, construction equipment and personnel remain at many of our school sites and may cause congestion".

Eliminate distractions. Research shows that taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds doubles your chances of crashing. This applies to any school bus that is on the same roadway as your vehicle, unless there is a physical barrier between you and the school bus.

William Morris is a reporter for the Owatonna People's Press.

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