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BACK TO SCHOOL MEANS BUS SAFETY 101 FOR ALL


Wed, Sep 8th, 2010
Posted in State of Minnesota





ST. PAUL - The Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety is urging motorists to "see yellow" and be ready to respond to school buses and student pedestrians as school resumes in Minnesota. Officials stress motorists need to drive attentively and be aware of children around school buses, and at all marked and unmarked crosswalks and intersections.

DPS reminds motorists to anticipate children, especially in a school bus "danger zone" - the area around a bus where most injuries and deaths occur. More children are killed outside of a school bus than are bus occupants. Officials also ask parents to discuss and demonstrate pedestrian safety with their children and reinforce safe crossing after exiting a bus.

DPS reports there have been 2,013 crashes involving school buses in the last three years (2007-2009), resulting in 16 deaths of which four were children bus passengers (ages 10-14).

"Drivers need to welcome back school buses to the road and take extra caution around them," says Cheri Marti, DPS Office of Traffic Safety director. "Stop for red flashing lights and when stop arms are extended - both when driving behind a bus and when coming toward a bus."

In Minnesota, school buses make at least 10,000 school bus trips daily. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, school buses are the safest mode of transportation for children - children are eight times safer riding in a bus to school than any other vehicles.

DPS offers these tips for pedestrians and motorists, and for parents to review with their school-age children:

School children:

§ When getting off a bus, look to be sure no cars are passing on the shoulder (side of the road).

§ Before crossing the street, take five "giant steps" out from the front of the bus, or until the driver's face can be seen.

§ Wait for the driver to signal that it's safe to cross.

§ Look left-right-left when coming to the edge of the bus to make sure traffic is stopped. Keep watching traffic when crossing.

Pedestrians:

§ Cross only at intersections or crosswalks.

§ Obey all traffic signs and signals.

§ Do not enter a crosswalk if a vehicle is too close or moving too fast to stop safely.

§ Remember, the law requires pedestrians take responsibility for their own safety.



Motorists:

§ Motorists must stop at least 20 feet from a school bus that is displaying red flashing lights and/or its stop arm is extended when approaching from the rear and from the opposite direction on undivided roads.

§ Red flashing lights on buses indicates students are either entering or exiting the bus.

§ Motorists are not required to stop for a bus if the bus is on the opposite side of a separated roadway (median, etc.) - but they should remain alert for children.

§ Altering a route or schedule to avoid a bus is one way motorists can help improve safety. In doing so, motorists won't find themselves behind a bus and as a result, potentially putting children at risk.

§ Watch for school crossing patrols and pedestrians. Reduce speeds in and around school zones.

§ Watch and stop for pedestrians - the law applies to all street corners, for both marked and unmarked crosswalks (all street corners) - every corner is a crosswalk.



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