Prioritize kids’ safety on school buses

Published 2:10 pm Friday, August 6, 2021

School begins Monday in both Carter County and Elizabethton, which means school buses will be on city streets and county roads.
For many youngsters, this will be their first year in a classroom setting. Other youth have become accustomed to the daily rigors of learning.
The majority of students, especially in the county, will rely on school buses to get them to their schools and back home again safely.
Now would be a good time for drivers, students and parents to brush up on school bus safety guidelines.
In an effort to make the 2017-18 school year as safe as possible, we share some tips for students, motorists and bus drivers alike.
• Parents can help ease their youngsters’ anxieties by taking their kids to the location where they will board the bus.
• Moms or dads, or both, should introduce themselves and their child to the bus driver. That way, the youngster will be sure to get on the right bus.
• Parents can reassure their sons or daughters that someone, such as a relative or day-care provider, will meet them when they get off the bus.
Students have an important role in school bus safety. They should:
• Make sure they arrive at the bus stop at least five minutes early, thus avoiding having to run to catch the bus.
• Stand about five feet from the berm or curb to avoid obstructing traffic.
• Don’t run after a bus that has pulled away from the bus stop.
• Always cross in front of the bus, where the driver can see them.
• Stay seated when the vehicle is moving.
• Avoid blocking the aisles of the bus with backpacks, book bags, band instruments and sports equipment.
• Never push another rider when boarding or disembarking a bus.
Drivers have a vital duty in making sure students get to and from school without harm. According to tips from PennDOT, they should:
• Stop at least 10 feet away from school buses that are displaying flashing red lights and extended stop arms.
• Come to a stop when they are behind a bus, meeting the vehicle or approaching an intersection where a bus is stopped.
• Drivers following or traveling alongside a bus must come to a complete stop until the red lights cease blinking and the stop arm is lifted.
• If grassy medians, guide rails or concrete barriers separate oncoming traffic from the bus, the traffic may proceed without stopping.
Tennessee has strict traffic regulations that were enacted to ensure the safety of students.
It is a class A misdemeanor for overtaking and passing a school bus in Tennessee, punishable only by a fine of not less than $250 nor more than $1,000 for any person to fail to comply with the law requiring a motor vehicle to stop upon approaching a school bus.
Bus drivers must realize they are transporting precious cargo. To keep everyone safe, bus drivers should:
• Conduct pre-trip inspections of their vehicles before every run.
• Make sure that riders unloading from the bus are at a safe distance from the vehicle before pulling away from the bus stop.
• Do not allow riders to exit before all traffic has come to a complete stop.
• After the last stop of the day, complete a post-trip inspection to make sure that no child has been left on the bus.
School bus safety is the responsibility of students, parents, teachers, administrators, bus drivers and the motoring public.
Let’s all work together to safeguard our precious children from injury.