The arrival of Labor Day marks the end of summer, and the beginning of the school year.  As students are heading back to classes, Stark & Stark want to remind drivers about some bus safety tips.

Studies have estimated that as many as 17,000 students a year require hospital treatment for injuries received while riding, boarding or leaving a school bus. According to a survey conducted earlier this year, more than 21,000 drivers illegally passed stopped school buses over the course of one day in April. By learning and observing school bus safety laws, you can help keep children safe while they travel to and from school on the yellow school bus.

During the first several weeks of school there is a marked increase in traffic in roadways near schools, police say, and all motorists, whether transporting children to school or just traveling on city roadways, should allow more time for their daily commute. The most important rule is to SLOW DOWN and don’t be distracted while driving. Use the Golden Rule when confronted by a school bus situation, whether you are fuming at the wheel while a mother chats with the bus driver while the cars back up behind it, or if the bus you’re following is stopping every 100 yards. Treat that bus, and the children on it, as if they were your children. Treat them with the same courtesy and respect that you would demand if your child was on that bus. Take a deep breath, and stay calm. The key is to plan ahead to make sure that you have budgeted sufficient time to reach your destination, now that school buses are back on the road. Here are several other important points to keep in mind:

  • Follow school buses at a safe distance, they make frequent stops.
  • Yellow flashing lights indicate that the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children. Motorists should slow down and prepare to stop their vehicles.
  • Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate that the bus has stopped, and that children are getting on or off. Motorists must stop their cars and wait until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop sign is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving before they can start driving again.
  • You must stop in both directions when approaching a bus with red flashing lights.
  • Watch for children arriving late for the bus stop who may run into the street.
  • Pay particular attention to children walking where there are no sidewalks. 
  • Don’t be in a hurry. Give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination.
  • Learn and obey the school bus laws in your state.
  • Remember that children are unpredictable in their actions and take extreme caution when traveling in a school zone.

The advent of a new school year is an exciting one for students and parents, but please don’t make it a dangerous one! Keep these tips in mind and help our children have a safe trip to school.

John Sakson a Shareholder in Stark & Stark’s Lawrenceville, New Jersey office, concentrating in Accident & Personal Injury Law. For more information, please contact Mr. Sakson