Most schools have been in session for a few weeks now and the big yellow buses transporting kids have become a common sight. David Stutz of the Iowa Department of Transportation says you shouldn’t become so comfortable with seeing the buses that you forget they’re carrying a cargo of kids.
Stutz says driving to work is not a time to become impatient, and you should always be on the lookout for buses picking up or dropping off kids. Stutz says the flashing yellow lights are a signal for you to watch out for the bus to make a stop. Stutz says you need to prepare to react to the signal lights on the bus as soon as you see them.
He says you should reduce your speed, and when the red lights come one, stop 15 feet from the bus. Stutz says you should wait until the lights and stop arm are shut off before you start your car moving again. Stutz says statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation show that school buses are nearly eight times safer than passenger vehicles to transport children to and from school. But, he says students also must be taught about safety.
Stutz says you should make sure the kids get to the schoolbus stop early, so they aren’t in a situation where they’re running to the bus. The kids should be instructed to wait a safe distance from the bus, and until the bus fully stops, and the driver tells the kids to board the bus. Stutz says the children also need to be careful getting off the bus.
He says kids are encouraged to take five big steps away from the bus. Stutz says kids should be told they should never try to retrieve anything that falls under the bus. They should instead tell the bus driver, and the bus driver can help them retrieve the item.
Stutz says drivers should be aware that kids are often in a hurry, and may run away from buses before checking to see if the way is clear. Stutz says 10 people have been killed in the last five years in schoolbus accidents, with three of the victims being young children.