Organization: School is in — drive smart

Published 9:49 am Wednesday, September 1, 2010

With school back in session and school buses out and about, the safety of the children on the roads is an important issue. Even for people who don’t have children in school, safety is everyone’s responsibility.

Safe kids USA is an organization that focuses on preventing childhood injuries and death, and it offered these tips on its Web site:

For drivers:

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Slow down and be especially alert in the residential neighborhoods and school zones

Take extra time to look for children at intersections, on medians and on curbs

Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully

Watch for children on and near the road in the morning and after school hours

Reduce any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings. Put down your phone and don’t talk or text while driving

For students:

They should cross the street with an adult until they are at least 10 years old

Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks

Never run out into the streets or cross in between parked cars

Make sure they always walk in front of the bus where the driver can see them

Norma Browning is a school bus driver for Ironton City Schools and has been a bus driver for 35 years. She said it usually takes some time for people to remember the safety measures needed during the school years, but it comes down to a couple of simple things.

“I think your main thing is to just follow the laws and be patient,” Browning said.

Proctorville Police Chief Bill Murphy said that it seems like people think it’s an inconvenience to have to stop for school buses.

“We haven’t issued any citations yet (this school year), but it’s a major problem,” Murphy said. “We get complaints about people not stopping for buses or at stop signs.”

Murphy said the Proctorville Police Department sends officers out to watch bus stops or to follow a bus on its route to ensure laws are being followed and safety is being maintained.

It’s also important to remember that both lanes of traffic need to stop when a bus is letting children off. Murphy said this even applies to three-lane roads, when there is a turning lane.

Children are also being taught and reminded of how to stay safe when traveling to or from school.

Browning said there is a bus safety program at school to teach the students how to be safe when going to or getting home from school, and that, for the most part, the students do well with bus safety.

“The younger ones- we have to keep after them for a while,” Browning said.

Murphy’s advice for the students is to stay away from the edge of the street.

“You don’t want kids standing close to the roadways,” Murphy said. He said to remember to wait until the stop sign is out, and look for the bus driver’s hand signals for when to stop and go.