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Stop on Red, Kids Ahead

Florida joins other states across the country to observe National School Bus Safety Week on Oct. 18-22, 2010. The special week commemorates the safe service that school buses provide to families, as they provide one of the safest modes of transportation for children.

National School Bus Safety Week also is a good time to remind drivers of the laws and safe practices to take when approaching a school bus.

Drivers who improperly pass a stopped school bus commit a moving violation subject to citation and will be required to complete a basic Driver Improvement Course upon conviction.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles offers tips for drivers to keep in mind when school buses are present, and for students to ensure their safety at the bus stop.

Drivers

Avoid Harm. Obey the Stop Arm. is this year’s theme for National School Bus Safety Week and reminds motorists to never attempt to pass a bus when it is stopped or preparing to stop.
Leave adequate space between your vehicle and the bus.
Stop if you are moving in the same direction as a stopped bus.
Remain stopped until the bus withdraws its Stop sign.
Be on the lookout for kids around school bus loading and unloading areas.
Obey all traffic signs and signals.
Pay attention; avoid distractions.
Do your part to make every school crossing a safe place for children to walk.
  • Pay attention to speed limits, school crossing guards and unpredictable children, since these situations may require you to reduce your speed or stop.
  • When children (walking, bicycling or skating) or school crossing guards are present in a crosswalk, drivers must yield or stop at the marked stop line and without stopping in the crosswalk. It is the driver’s responsibility to avoid colliding with pedestrians.

At the Bus Stop, students should:

Always walk to the bus stop. Never run.
Walk on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, walk on the left facing traffic.
Never speak to strangers at the bus stop or get into a stranger’s car.
Wait for the bus to arrive, watch for red flashing lights and the Stop arm to extend. Look left, right and left again before crossing the street.
Buckle up if your school bus has safety belts.

On Nov. 7, Eastern Daylight Time begins, and many students will exit school buses after dark. Be alert. We all have a part in making a safer Florida.

Here’s what some of the experts had to say…

link to FHP

“School buses are everywhere, and they carry the future of Florida, our children. It is every driver’s responsibility to provide a safe driving environment by being aware of all the traffic around them, including school buses.”
-- Colonel John Czernis, Director, Florida Highway Patrol.

link to Florida Trucking Association

“Recognizing road and weather conditions and using well-maintained equipment by drivers of large vehicles can help reduce the incident of crashes on our roadways. Whether you are behind the wheel of a big rig or a school bus, you must always buckle up and maintain control your vehicle to ensure the safe maneuvering around other traffic and pedestrians—experience matters.”
-- Mary Lou Rajchel, President, Florida Trucking Association

link to AAA

"Motorists, parents and students all need to be aware of the integral role they play in school bus safety. It is especially important that parents discuss the school bus safety rules with their children to ensure they get on and off the bus as safely as possible. By taking simple actions, we can all do our part to reduce the number of school bus-related injuries and fatalities."
-- Leticia Messam, Manager of Traffic Safety Programs, AAA Auto Club South



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