Reminds Drivers to Stop for Buses and Urges Parents to Talk to Kids about Safety
Wilmington, DE – Governor Jack Markell declared October 18-22 to be School Bus Safety Week at Casimir Pulaski Elementary School. He joined with students, teachers, bus drivers and safety patrollers to call on motorists to review related laws and encourage parents to discuss bus safety with their children.
"In Delaware, the community knows how to come together to drive our state forward, but we also need to know when to hit the brake,” said Governor Markell. “The safety of our children is in all our hands, so I hope this week presents an opportunity to review related laws and safety tips."
Motorists traveling in either direction on a two-lane road must stop when a school bus activates its flashing lights and stop sign. On a four-lane road, drivers traveling in the same direction must stop, but drivers traveling in the opposite direction are not required to. All drivers are urged to approach buses with caution.
The Department of Education (DOE) has provided safety tips for parents and children, which are posted on the DOE webpage and Governor Markell’s Facebook page.
“Many people don’t realize that there is a ‘danger zone’ around a school bus,” said Christina School District Transportation Specialist Garcia Garnett. “The most dangerous zones are 12 feet in the front and rear of the bus and 10 feet on the sides, where a driver cannot see a child. We hope parents will help their children understand how and why to be careful at the bus stop, near the bus, and on the bus.”
Governor Markell and other attendees also took time to thank Delaware’s bus drivers, who transported approximately 107,500 students per day during the 2009-2010 school year.
"Parents know how distracting it can be to drive with a few kids in the car. Imagine having a busload. Bus drivers have a challenging job—they have to keep their eyes on the road and stay focused on safety, while also keeping an eye on our kids," Markell said.
Tips on School Bus Safety
Although school buses are the safest means of ground transportation, safety should still be a priority for the children walking to and from the school bus stops, and for the motorists who must share the road with buses. There are things that children, parents and drivers can do to make this a safe school year for Delaware students.
- If your children’s bus stop is not near your home, walk the route to that stop with them until they are familiar with it.
- Make sure your child knows what time the bus is scheduled to arrive and make sure he or she gets to the stop early, so the child can avoid rushing. Children in a rush are less likely to follow safety practices.
- Review safety tips with children to make sure they understand why each one is dangerous.
- Wait for the bus in a safe place. Avoid horseplay that could cause you to fall into the street.
- Never run to or from the bus.
- Do not push or shove when getting on or off the bus.
- Learn about the “danger zone.” That’s a 12-foot wide area in front of and behind the bus and 10-foot wide areas at the sides of the bus where the driver cannot see you. When you get off the bus, step outside of the danger zone until you can see the driver’s face.
- Never run behind the bus, or bend down to pick up an object. The bus driver may think you’ve crossed safely and start to move.
- Do not distract the bus driver so that he/she may get you safely to and from school.
- Drivers traveling in either direction on a two-lane road must stop when a school bus activates its flashing lights and stop sign.
- Drivers traveling in the same direction as a school bus on a four-lane road must stop for a stopped school bus. Drivers travelling in the opposite direction are not required to stop.
- Delaware law requires vehicles to stop even when the bus is stopped to load/unload students on private property.
- Anyone convicted of passing a stopped school bus can be fined as much as $230 for the first offense, and as much as $575 for the second offense. The individual will also have their license suspended for between 1 and 12 months.
Delaware Department of Education
401 Federal Street, Suite #2
Dover, Delaware 19901
Phone: (302) 735-4035
Fax: (302) 739-4654
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