Everything You Need to Know About School Bus Safety

Everything You Need to Know About School Bus Safety

September means back to school for many children
here in New
York State. Whether you are sending your children to school or simply sharing
the roads with school buses on your morning commute,
it’s important to be up-to-date on the current laws and expectations regarding
school buses.

According to the New York State Governor’s Traffic Safety
Committee, a school bus is the safest way to transport children to and from
school. However, while children are entering and exiting the bus, they become
susceptible to serious injury. This is due to the high number of incidents
involving motorists illegally passing stopped school buses. Based on a March
2018 study, bus drivers were passed 30,252 times illegally statewide by
motorists on the day they were surveyed. This number is very alarming when considering
the safety of our children.

Currently, under New York State’s Vehicle and Traffic Law
Section 1174, it is illegal to pass a stopped school bus when the large red
lights located on the top of the bus are flashing. The flashing lights mean
that the bus is picking up or dropping off students. This also applies on
divided and multilane highways as well as on school grounds to ensure safety
for all students. Motorists that violate this law can be faced with fines and
jail time. The first time someone illegally passes a school bus, there is a
fine that ranges from $250-$400, 5 points on their license,
and/or possibility of 30 days of jail time. If the offense is carried out
again, fines up to $1,000 and up to 180 days of jail time could be faced.

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Here are
some ways you can keep students safe on the roadways:

Never pass a stopped school bus, on the left or the
right, when its red lights are flashing and its stop signs are out. The lights
indicate that students are getting on or off the bus.
Be aware that school buses are required by law
to stop at railroad crossings.
Do not allow yourself to drive distracted. Never
use electronics while driving and be sure to keep your focus on the road and
your surroundings. Consider setting your mobile device to its
“do not disturb” setting.

General School
Bus and School Zone Safety Tips for Motorists:

Use extra caution when school is
opening in the morning and closing in the afternoon as students may be walking and
crossing streets.
Always be alert. Students that are
running late may dart into the street to catch their bus without looking first.
Be mindful of speed limits when in a
school zone – especially when school is in session.

Busy Safety Tips for Students:

While waiting for the bus driver’s instruction,
be sure to stay back away from the curb.
Wait for the bus to come to a
complete stop before entering the road.
Be sure to look both ways before
entering the street and always use caution when crossing the street to get on
or off the bus.
Take precautions. Always be sure the
bus driver can see you by making eye contact with them and waiting for the
signal before crossing in front of the bus.
Never walk behind the bus.

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We all play
a part in ensuring the safety of students and motorists. Do your part to keep
everyone safe by practicing school bus safety daily.