Back to school: Time to think bus safety

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Tribune editorial staff

Today marks the unofficial end of summer - classes resume in most county school districts.

With the return of the school year, children in school buses become the most precious things being hauled on our roads. For the safety of these children, drivers need to slow down, obey school zone speed limits and stop for school buses.

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Although drivers of all vehicles are required to stop for a school bus when it is stopped to load or unload passengers, children should not rely on them to do so. The National Safety Council encourages parents to teach their children these rules for getting on and off the school bus:

- When waiting for the bus, stay away from traffic and avoid roughhousing or other behavior that can lead to carelessness. Do not stray onto streets, alleys or private property.

- Line up away from the street or road as the school bus approaches.

- Wait until the bus has stopped and the door opens before stepping onto the roadway.

- Use the hand rail when stepping onto the bus.

- If you have to cross the street in front of the bus, walk at least 10 feet ahead of the bus along the side of the road, until you can turn around and see the driver.

- Make sure that the driver can see you.

- Wait for a signal from the driver before beginning to cross.

- When the driver signals, walk across the road, keeping an eye out for sudden traffic changes.

- Do not cross the center line of the road until the driver has signaled that it is safe for you to begin walking.

- Stay away from the bus' rear wheels at all times.

- Children should always stop at the curb or the edge of the road and look left, then right, and then left again before crossing a street. They should continue looking in this manner until they are safely across.

Taking the initiative to discuss school bus safety with your children could help make you make sure this school year is a safe one.