For over twenty three million students nationwide, the school day begins and ends with a trip on the school bus. The greatest risk is not riding the bus, but approaching or leaving the bus. Before the children go back to school or start school for the first time, it is essential that adults and children know traffic safety rules.
School Bus Safety for Drivers
Drivers should do the following things to stay safe around school buses and school children:
- 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 about getting there safely.
- Slow down. Watch for children walking in the street, especially if there are no sidewalks in the neighborhood.
- Be alert. Children arriving late for the bus may dart into the street without looking for traffic.
- Slow down. Watch for children playing and congregating near bus stops.
School Bus Safety for Children
School children should do the following to promote school bus safety:
- Get to the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive.
- When the bus approaches, stand at least three GIANT steps (6 feet) away from the curb, and line up away from the street.
- Wait until the bus stops, the door opens, and the driver say that it’s okay before stepping onto the bus.
- If you have to cross the street in front of the bus, walk on the sidewalk or along the side of the road to a point at least five GIANT steps (10 feet) ahead of the bus before you cross. Be sure that the driver can see you and you can see the bus driver.
- Use the handrails to avoid falls. When exiting the bus, be careful that clothing with drawstrings and book bags with straps don’t get caught in the handrails or doors.
- Never walk behind the bus.
- Walk at least three GIANT steps away from the side of the bus.
- If you drop something near the bus, tell the bus driver. Never try to pick it up because the bus driver may not be able to see you.
School Bus Laws
The section of the Traffic Law manual for the State of Arizona that deals with school bus law is ARS 28-857.
- This law says that when meeting or overtaking, from either direction, a school bus that is stopped on the highway, the driver of a vehicle on the highway shall stop their vehicle before reaching the school bus if a red octagon with the words "STOP" printed on both sides and the alternating flashing lights are in use by the school bus.
- Most violations of the Traffic Law manual are considered civil violations and can be resolved with a citation from a law enforcement officer. A violation of the school bus law in our state is a criminal offense. This means that the driver of the vehicle could be placed under arrest and face costly penalties in court.
- Don’t place our children at risk!! When a school bus is displaying the flashing red lights and the "STOP" sign, stop….and don’t proceed until the signal has been deactivated.
School Bus Warning Signs
This system is used to alert other drivers on the road to the actions being taken by a school bus.
- Yellow Flashing Lights - This indicates that the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children. Motorists should slow down and prepare to stop their vehicles.
- Red Flashing Lights - This indicates that the school bus is in the process of loading or unloading children. The red octagon "STOP" sign will also be extended at this time. Motorists must stop their cars and wait until the red lights stop flashing and the extended "STOP" sign is withdrawn and the bus begins moving before they can stop driving again.