With school back in session for a couple weeks now, no doubt motorists have seen the many schools buses in the North Country making their daily rounds of ferrying students to a from school.
A few words of advice to motorists: Please use caution.
News of a school-bus accident is every parent’s worst nightmare, and we want to avoid that.
Please be aware of buses when traveling at busy times such as the early morning when buses are picking kids up, and mid-afternoon when they are bringing them back home.
We’ve expressed this viewpoint many times before and it certainly doesn’t hurt to say it again.
So please, now more than ever, be mindful of these buses and take every safety step necessary to ensure that our most precious cargo stays safe.
School buses are hard to miss. They are bright yellow with black lettering and are very big.
When they stop to pick up kids or let them off, a large red STOP sign is deployed on the sides of the bus and its red lights flash vigorously. The message is clear: stop and let the kids go safely.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the school buses are the most regulated vehicles on the road; they’re designed to be safer than passenger vehicles in preventing crashes and injuries; and in every state, stop-arm laws exist to protect children from other motorists.
If you are driving, remember these simple rules:
Yellow flashing lights on a school bus mean slow down — don’t speed up — because the bus is preparing to stop. There are likely students waiting to get on the bus or parents waiting nearby to pick up children
Face forward after finding a seat on the bus. Exit the bus after it stops and look left-right-left for cars before crossing a street. We say drivers need to pay attention now more than ever because circumstances over the past few years have changed the landscape of bus driving.
Largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many school districts across the nation as well as in the North Country, have found themselves short of bus drivers. Routes have had to be combined or eliminated altogether as school districts tried to cope with the difficult situation.
With schools forced to switch to remote learning for long stretches during COVID, bus routes were not run and as a result some drivers just left the job.
Since then, we have seen many districts hire new drivers for their route, which are now back to pre-COVID levels.
That means there are many new bus drivers out there who may not have the experience in dealing with anxious motorists who don’t want to wait for kids to get on or off the bus.
With that in mind, we ask all drivers to be please be patient with school buses as we kick off the new school year. We want everyone to be safe and most certainly to avoid any disasters.
A few minutes won’t hurt, but a devastating crash lasts a lifetime.