School is now back in session full-time, and it is a good time for some reminders about school bus safety. On my commute into the office each day, I encounter several school buses taking our young people to their classrooms for a full day of learning. As a child I rode one of those busses to school, and I bet you did too. I know that as a child on one of those yellow buses, neither you nor I gave one thought about the other cars on the road. We also never realized the efforts that our families, school administrators, teachers, and wider community gave to keeping us safe while traveling to and from school.
Did you know that students are about 70 times more likely to get to school safely when taking a school bus instead of traveling by car? Isn’t that amazing? The collective effort we as a society have put into thoughtful bus routes, stops, and the rules and regulations surrounding school buses mean that our children are protected when around or near a school bus. Nevertheless, we all need a reminder about school bus safety to ensure that our students are safe on their way to their most important job: learning.
First – Make sure that you are aware of any and all bus stops along your commute. Be aware of your surroundings. I know that a new bus stop popped up on my commute this year, and I am extra-careful driving past that bus stop now. Parents, instruct your kids to stand six feet away from the curb so that they are very clearly out of the road.
Next, as a driver, make sure that you are familiar with the laws regarding school buses. When in doubt, always stop for any school bus that has stopped on the road. Unlawfully passing a school bus carries a minimum fine of $500 and runs the risk of hitting and severely injuring a young student. Passing a stopped school bus is the most dangerous to our youngsters who ride the bus. PLEASE stop for school buses!
Lastly, if you really want to have a good day, make someone else have a good day first. A great place to start is with our youth. Of course, it is in our own self-interest because they are our future. Try this – when you see youngsters waiting at a bus stop (some are very young and are out very early) take just a couple of seconds to slow down and offer an encouraging word out the window or a wave. Collectively we can help our young people get started on a positive note… and you will too!
Thank you for joining us in helping keep our students safe!