The advertising may have started right after Independence Day, but somehow back to school time has snuck up on us once again. Monday, August 19th approximately 40,668 students will return to Frederick County Public Schools. About 30,000 of those students will rely on a fleet of 400 yellow school buses that will cover 38,000 miles of county roadways every school day. [Tweet this.]
Curious about your student’s bus route? It’s available online.
According to the American School Bus Council and the U.S. Department of Transportation, features like cross-view mirrors, flashing lights, reinforced lights and crush standards make school buses safer than passenger vehicles in avoiding crashes and preventing injury. In fact, they point to research that shows school buses are the safest mode of transportation for getting students to and from school.
While school buses are generally safe, parents should be sure their children understand they need to be especially careful when they’re 10 feet in front, behind, or on either side of the bus. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers these tips for students and drivers:
- When the bus approaches, stand at least three giant steps away from the curb.
- Wait until the driver says it’s safe to board, then get on the bus one at a time.
- If you need to cross the street, take five giant steps from the front of the bus, cross in front of the bus when the driver indicates it’s safe, stop at the edge of the bus and look left, right and left again to check for traffic and cross the street only when your route is clear.
- Ask the driver for help if you drop something while getting on or off the bus.
- Once you’re on the bus, go directly to your seat and sit down facing forward. Remain seated, facing forward when the school bus is moving.
- Be respectful of the bus driver and always obey his or her instructions.
- When backing out of a driveway or leaving a garage, watch out for children walking or bicycling to school.
- When driving in neighborhoods with school zones, watch out for young people who may be thinking about getting to school, but may not be thinking of getting there safely.
- Slow down. Watch for children walking in the street, especially if there are no sidewalks in neighborhood.
- Slow down. Watch for children playing and congregating near bus stops.
- Be alert. Children arriving late for the bus may dart into the street with out looking for traffic.
- Know the school bus laws in your area. In Maryland:
- Yellow flashing lights indicate that the bus is preparing to load or unload children. Motorists should slow down and prepare to stop their vehicles.
- Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate that the bus has stopped, and that children are getting on or off. Motorists approaching from either direction must wait until the red lights stop flashing before proceeding.
Let’s make this school year successful, scholarly and safe!