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Rochester urges vigilance around school buses | #schoolsaftey


Tens of thousands of students across Rochester, the Finger Lakes and the Genesee Valley region are gearing up for the start of a new school year. 

Webster schools and Rush-Henrietta are among the districts beginning classes on Tuesday, while Rochester and some others are opening their classrooms on Wednesday. Additional districts are waiting until Thursday to kick off the academic year. 


What You Need To Know

  • Tens of thousands of students head back to school in the region this week
  • Students will be walking, biking, getting dropped off, and, of course, taking the bus to school
  • The Rochester Police Department says last year there were approximately 200 incidents involving cars striking pedestrians or bicyclists, with 14 of these incidents resulting in fatalities
  • Passing a school bus illegally can result in an infraction worth five points on your driver’s license and a fine of around $250. In some cases, it may even lead to a 30-day jail sentence

As students, parents, teachers and school officials prepare for the new school year, one thing that is top of mind is safety, particularly when it comes to young pedestrians and cyclists. Students will be walking, biking, getting dropped off, and, of course, taking the bus to school. 

According to the Rochester Police Department, last year there were approximately 200 incidents involving cars striking pedestrians or bicyclists, with 14 of these incidents resulting in fatalities. Nearly one-third of these cases involved hit-and-run incidents, police say. As parents send their kids off to school, officials say it’s important to exercise caution and responsibility while driving.

Deputy Brandon Hurley of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office emphasized the importance of vigilance on the road, especially around school buses. 

“It’s your responsibility to watch out for that school bus,” Hurley said. “Do not pass when the red lights are on. There’s a school bus driver on there who could potentially be telling that child it’s safe to cross in front of the school bus to get across the street. And your lack of patience in passing that stopped school bus could cost someone their life. Know that we are going to be out there, especially in the first couple of weeks. We have details set up that we will be following school buses to make sure that everybody is obeying the law.”

Here are some crucial safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Be patient — Rushing on the road, especially near schools and school buses, can lead to dangerous situations. Allow extra time for your commute to account for potential delays due to increased pedestrian and vehicle traffic
  • Always stop for a school bus — When you see a school bus with its red lights flashing and stop sign extended, come to a complete stop. It’s illegal and extremely dangerous to pass a stopped school bus in either direction
  • Slow down, stay off your phone and obey crossing guards — Distracted driving is a significant contributor to accidents, especially near schools. Put your phone away, obey traffic signals, and yield to crossing guards
  • Teach children traffic safety rules — It’s not just adults who need to follow safety rules. Kids need to know road safety, including how to cross streets and use crosswalks

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 25% of child pedestrian fatalities in the last decade occurred after school hours. It’s a chilling statistic that underscores the importance of adhering to safety measures, not just during school hours but throughout the day.

There are also legal consequences of passing a stopped school bus with its lights flashing. It can result in an infraction worth five points on your driver’s license and a fine of around $250. In some cases, it may even lead to a 30-day jail sentence. 



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