Be Smart – Be Seen, Wait in a Safe Place!

School Bus Safety Week reminds students, parents and motorists of their important role in school bus safety.

Georgia celebrates National School Bus Safety Week on October 20-24, 2014 and Georgia School Bus Driver Appreciation Day on Monday, October 20 Schools and safety advocates throughout the Peach State are using the week as an opportunity to highlight the importance of school bus safety. The 2014 theme for the week, Be Smart- Be Seen, I wait in a safe place, reminds students, parents and motorists of the important role each plays in ensuring student safety at the school bus stop.  One key factor in protecting Georgia’s students rests with motorists obeying the law and stopping for Georgia’s school buses as they board and exit.  But, drivers should also be reminded that obeying the law is just not enough. Children are unpredictable  … Motorists must have an overall heightened safety awareness and expect the unexpected as children wait at bus stops and as they get on and off their school bus.

“As motorists, we have a responsibility to exercise care, be on the alert and obey all laws when we are near or at a school bus stop,” said Elaine Bozeman. “Worth County Schools is pleased to bring attention to this important public safety topic during National School Bus Safety Week.”

“When transportation is required, school buses are the safest way for students to get to and from school,” said Ms. Bozeman. “This week is an excellent time to teach and reiterate to students and parents simple measures they can take while going to and from the bus stop, getting on and off the bus, and riding in the bus.  It also gives us a chance to thank and honor the professional school bus drivers who devote themselves to transporting our most precious cargo.”

For years, school buses have provided safe access to learning for Georgia’s school children through secure and dependable transportation to schools. The safety of the yellow school bus is unparalleled by any other means of automotive transportation.   School buses are equipped with more safety features than any other vehicle and are required to meet numerous safety specifications, including state and federal requirements.   In addition, all public school bus operators receive rigorous, specialized training on a variety of topics before they can take the wheel behind the big yellow bus.

More than one million students ride the school bus in Georgia twice each day, with more than

26 million school children transported in 480,000 school buses nationwide.

 

Tips for Motorists:

Please be alert and exercise patience and caution, especially around children as they wait at school bus stops and as they load and unload school buses. Impatient, uninformed or apathetic drivers pose a great threat.  Follow these safety practices:

• Be on the alert as children walk to and from their school bus stop.

• Exercise care and be responsive as children congregate and wait at their bus stop. They may be thinking about getting to school, but may not be thinking of getting there safely.

• Be ready to act when you see the yellow flashing lights on the front and the rear of a school bus. This is your warning that a bus stop is about to take place. Begin to slow down and look for students in the area. NEVER speed up to beat a school bus.  You must be focused and exercise caution any time you are in the vicinity of a school bus stop, as student riders can sometimes be impulsive.

• Abide by the law when a school bus comes to a full stop and you see the flashing red lights activate and the stop arm deploy. Motorists are required to STOP in nearly every instance. The only exception to this rule is when highways are separated in the center by a dirt, grass or concrete median. In this situation, only vehicles following or traveling alongside a school bus in the same direction must stop.

• Be attentive after stopping. You must remain stopped until all loading students are aboard in the morning or all unloading students have cleared 12 feet off the roadway in the afternoon.

• Avoid distractions such as texting or talking on the cell phone. If distracted, you threaten everyone’s safety.

• Analyze what is happening at and around the bus. Carefully observe student actions, look for stragglers and expect the unexpected.

• Respond appropriately and defensively to the situation. A school bus means children, and children equal unpredictability.

• Proceed with caution only after all students have safely cleared the roadway, the stop arm is cancelled and the flashing red lights are deactivated.

• Obey all traffic laws and speed limits, paying extra attention to the lower speed limits in school zones.

• Do not pass other vehicles in school zones or at crosswalks.

• Do not change lanes or make U-turns in school zones.

• Watch for and obey signals from school crossing guards.

• Be alert and watch for children near schools and in school parking lots.

• Drive or park only in authorized areas to drop off or pick up children at school.