Now is a good time to remind school bus-riders about safety rules

By Jennifer Reyna - Anchor/Reporter
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As the new school year begins, we want to focus on heading back to school in the safest manner possible. And believe it or not, your child is much safer traveling to school on a school bus than by car. 70 precent safer, experts say.

Here’s why. The laws in place, protect students who are getting on and off from the bus. It is illegal for drivers to pass a school bus while the bus is loading or off-loading students. The buses are also highly visible in color and height, with flashing red lights and stop-sign arms.

The danger lies in your child walking on or off from the bus. It is important to talk with them about safety rules to ensure things go well. For parents, remind your child that the bus stop is not a place to run and play. It’s important for them to step away from the curb as they wait. When the bus arrives, your child should wait until the bus comes to a complete stop and the driver signals that it is OK to enter. They should use the handrails to avoid slipping, especially when it’s been raining.

Your child should never walk behind a school bus. And it’s important for them to make eye contact with the driver should they need to cross in front or drop any items. The bus sits so high, they will want to ensure they can be seen first.

For drivers, the best advice is to slow down when they see a school bus. Be alert and watch for children in the area. Be extra cautious in neighborhoods that lack sidewalks. Watch for bicyclists or smaller children, especially when reversing.

Keep in mind that there are major penalties for drivers who don’t obey the laws for a stopped school bus. Drivers can face fines up to $1,000 for the violation. And if a driver has multiple offenses, DPS can suspend their license for up to six months.

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