Recent Tragedies Prompt NHTSA to Urge Motorists to Slow Down Near School Bus Stops

January 24, 2019

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A string of tragic accidents involving school buses has prompted the U.S. Department of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to remind motorists to drive cautiously when approaching a school bus or school crossing.

As students return to school from their winter holiday break, motorists should slow down when driving in neighborhoods with school zones and look out for children assembling near bus stops. If approaching a school bus, pay careful attention to the flashing lights on the top and side of the bus. Flashing yellow lights indicate the bus is preparing to stop to either drop off or pick up students, so motorists should slow down. Flashing red lights and extended stop arms indicate that the bus has stopped, and children are getting on or off the bus. Motorists are required by law to stop their cars and wait until the red lights stop flashing, the extended arm has withdrawn, and the bus has started moving again.

Additionally, the NHTSA offers the following tips to ensure students safely arrive at school:

  • Arrive at the bus stop at least 5 minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive. Stand at least three giant steps (6 feet) away from the curb. The bus stop is not a place to run or play.
  • When the school bus arrives, wait until the bus comes to a complete stop, the door opens, and the driver says it’s okay before approaching the bus door. Use the handrails to avoid falling.
  • Never walk behind a school bus. Walk on a sidewalk or along the side of the street. Cross the street in front of the bus with at least five giant steps (10 feet) between the front of the bus and you. Make eye contact with the bus driver before crossing to make sure the driver can see you.
  • If you drop something near the school bus, like a ball or book, tell the bus driver right away. Do not try to pick up the item, because the driver might not be able to see you.

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Domnick Cunningham & Whalen

Domnick Cunningham & Whalen

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