Students across Missouri are preparing to begin their 2020-2021 school year. The Missouri State Highway Patrol reminds drivers this brings a change in traffic patterns ─ school buses and parents taking their children to school and many young drivers will join other motorists on the road and affect the morning and afternoon commute. In good weather, pedestrian and bicycle traffic increases close to schools. It is critical for drivers to be alert, especially near school zones, playgrounds, and bicycle paths. Whatever route you drive, expect this additional traffic and prepare by allowing extra time to reach your destination.
In 2019, three people were killed and 471 people were injured in 1,015 traffic crashes involving school buses. Parents are encouraged to talk to their children about riding a bus, walking, or driving to school in a safe manner. If they ride a bike, please make sure they wear a helmet and follow traffic laws.
Missouri law states that on a two-lane road, if a school bus is stopped and displaying warning signals while loading or unloading children, drivers must stop when meeting and following the bus. However, it is only necessary to stop on a four-lane highway when following the bus. Drivers, when you see a stopped school bus, stay alert and follow the law. Children may not be aware of traffic and dart unexpectedly into the roadway.
Most traffic crashes involving young drivers (under the age of 21) occur between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m., when school typically lets out. Many of these drivers are young and inexperienced. Parents: It is important to encourage those young drivers to remember driving is a full-time job. Using a cell phone, texting, or adjusting the radio can be the distraction that leads to a traffic crash. Texting is against the law for anyone under the age of 22. Every driver needs to be aware of the increased traffic during this time—and not just in areas around schools. Some of these young drivers are headed to an after-school activity or going to work.
Too many people die in traffic crashes each year in Missouri. The choices you make when you’re behind the wheel matter. Make good choices, so you’ll never have to say, “If I could just go back …”
School personnel, parents, and students are reminded of the Courage2ReportMO program, which provides a safe and confidential way to report any concerns regarding their safety or the safety of others. These concerns may include: assault, bullying/repeated harassment, cyber bullying, fighting, guns, homicide, human trafficking, knife, planned school attack, imminent school shooting, school shooting threat, sexual offense, suicide-other person (3rd party), or a terrorism threat (extremism). Those reporting their concerns may remain anonymous. Courate2Report Missouri empowers adults and children to be the solution in addressing community and school safety. C2R provides a “sooner is safer” tool to report real time concerns 24 hours a day. Concerned persons may submit a C2R report through an Apple or Google Play mobile app, by making an online report via https://www.Courage2ReportMO.com, or by speaking confidentially to a trained professional at 866-748-7047.