ACS reminds motorists to slow down, obey school bus stop signs
Published 2:53 pm Monday, October 16, 2023
National School Bus Safety Week is October 16-20, 2023. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is working alongside Andalusia City Schools to urge drivers to slow down and be aware of school buses in their communities.
Although school buses are one of the safest modes of transportation, injuries and fatalities do occur outside of or near the buses. Most often, these tragedies occur because a motorist has failed to slow down and obey the bus’s stop sign, or to follow local traffic laws.
Nationally, school bus passing is illegal and it is a deadly risk to bus riders and their caretakers. Drivers should always come to a complete stop when a school bus stop arm is extended, and the red lights are flashing.
From 2011 to 2020, there were 1.6 times more fatalities among pedestrians (183) than occupants of school buses (113) in school bus-related crashes. From 2000-2021, there were 53 fatalities in crashes that involved a driver illegally passing a stopped school bus. Almost half of those fatalities (25) were pedestrians who were 18 years old or younger.
“When a school bus’s red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended, drivers must slow down and come to a complete stop,” said ACS Superintendent Dr. Daniel Shakespeare. “This is not a suggestion – it’s the law.” In fact, yellow flashing lights indicate the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children. This is when motorists should begin to slow down and prepare to stop their vehicles. “Motorists may begin moving only when the red flashing lights are turned off, the stop arm is withdrawn, and the bus begins to move. School bus riders and their caretakers are relying on drivers to follow the law to keep the safe,” said Dr. Shakespeare.
“Passing a stopped school bus is against the law and could have fatal consequences. Nothing is worth the risk,” said Dr. Shakespeare. “We need every driver to pay attention, because children’s lives are on the line.”
Let’s work together to keep our children safe as they wait to ride the bus to and from school. Slow down and obey the signs. For more information about school bus stop safety, please visit www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/school-bus-safety/#the-topic-bus-stop-safety.