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School Bus Safety Tips for Students, Drivers

Be on the lookout for children and bus stops as school starts.<br>
Tens of thousands of school children return to class form summer break all across Arkansas on Thursday morning.

That means there will be more children walking along the streets and extra traffic on roads, including lots of school busses.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says the greatest risk is not riding the bus, but approaching or leaving the bus. Before children go back to school or start school for the first time, it is essential that adults and children know traffic safety rules.

The NHTSA recommends the following:

Drivers
  • When backing out of a driveway or leaving a garage, watch out for children walking or bicycling to school.
  • When driving in neighborhoods with school zones, watch out for young people who may be thinking about getting to school, but may not be thinking of getting there safely.
  • Slow down. Watch for children walking in the street, especially if there are no sidewalks in neighborhood.
  • Slow down. Watch for children playing and congregating near bus stops.
  • Be alert. Children arriving late for the bus may dart into the street with out looking for traffic.
  • Learn and obey the school bus laws in your state.
  • Learn the "flashing signal light system" that school bus drivers use to alert motorists of pending actions:
  1. Yellow flashing lights indicate that the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children. Motorists should slow down and prepare to stop their vehicles.
  2. Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate that the bus has stopped, and that children are getting on or off. Motorists must stop their cars and wait until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop sign is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving before they can start driving again.

Children

  • Get to the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive.
  • When the bus approaches, stand at least three giant steps (6 feet) away from the curb, and line up away from the street.
  • Wait until the bus stops, the door opens, and the driver says that it's okay before stepping onto the bus.
  • If you have to cross the street in front of the bus, walk on the sidewalk or along the side of the road to a point at least five giant steps (10 feet) ahead of the bus before you cross. Be sure that the bus driver can see you, and you can see the bus driver.
  • Use the handrails to avoids falls. When exiting the bus, be careful that clothing with drawstrings, and book bags with straps don't get caught in the handrails or doors.
  • Never walk behind the bus.
  • Walk at least three giant steps away from the side of the bus.
  • If you drop something near the bus, tell the bus driver. Never try to pick it up because the driver may not be able to see you.

Parents
Teach children to follow the common sense practices above to make school bus transportation safer.

Other school bus safety tips:
More from the NHTSA
School Bus Stops
School Bus Safety, Know the Danger Zone

Click here for more Back to School information in our special section.

Click here to sign on to MyMedia and upload your Back to School photos to us and be sure to watch KARK 4 News at 7 on the Z to see if we use yours in our special report Friday night.

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