School is back in session Monday, and that means it's time to cooperate with buses and bus drivers.
Some studies estimate 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 .
According to a survey conducted earlier this year, more than 21,000 drivers illegally passed stopped school buses on one day in April. By learning and observing school bus safety laws, citizens can help keep children safe while they travel to and from school on the yellow school bus.
The Florida Department of Education and the Department of Highway safety and Motor Vehicles have offered the following reminders to help motorists, students and parents work together to promote safety and prevent injuries.
- Always be alert, cautious and patient around children, cross walks, bus stops, schools, school buses and school parking lots.
- When approaching a school bus that is stopped with its red lights flashing and its stop arms extended, motorists traveling in both directions are required to STOP in nearly every instance.
- Obey all traffic laws and speed limits, paying extra attention to the lower speed limits in school zones.
- Do not pass other vehicles in school zones or at crosswalks.
- Do not change lanes or make U-turns in school zones.
- Watch for and obey signals from school crossing guards.
- Do not text or use a cell phone while driving.
- Only drive or park in authorized areas to drop off or pick up children at school.
- Visit www.FloridaSchoolBusSafety.gov for more information on school bus stop laws.
Parents and Guardians:
- Read these safety tips with your children and discuss why they are important.
- Find and practice the safest way to get to and from school or your assigned school bus stop.
- If your children are small, wait with them at the bus stop in the morning and meet them at the bus stop in the afternoon.
- Tell children never to run into the street or cross between parked cars.
At the School Bus Stop:
- Arrive at your bus stop about five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive.
- Follow instructions from your bus driver or the school district about where to wait.
- Wait in a safe place away from the road.
- Do not run and play while waiting for the bus to arrive.
- Never sit on the roadway while waiting for your bus.
- Never speak to strangers at the bus stop and never get into a car with a stranger. Always tell your parents, your bus driver or another responsible adult as soon as possible if a stranger tries to talk to you or pick you up.
Loading or Unloading from the Bus:
- As the bus is approaching, watch for the red flashing lights and the stop arms to extend.
- When the bus stops, wait for the driver’s signal that it is safe to cross the road or board the bus.
- If crossing the street, look left, right and left again. When the driver signals that it is safe, walk at least 12 feet in front of the bus where the driver can see you.
- Never walk behind the school bus.
- Never run after the bus.
- Hold the handrail while going up and down the stairs.
- Go directly to your bus seat and remain seated during the entire ride.
- Exit the bus only at your assigned bus stop.
- If you drop something near the bus, tell the bus driver. Never try to pick it up first, because the driver may not be able to see you.
On the School Bus:
- Keep your hands, arms and head inside bus.
- Always buckle up properly if your school bus has safety belts.
- Stay in your seat and obey the driver.
- Remain seated at all times and keep the aisle clear.
- Stop talking and stay quiet when the bus comes to a railroad crossing so the driver can hear if a train is approaching.
- Avoid any loud or disruptive behavior that could distract the bus driver from safely operating the bus.
- Be courteous and respectful to your driver. Safely getting you to and from school is a tremendous responsibility that the driver takes very seriously.