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Sheriff Carpenter offers tips for school bus safety

 

Staff Report

 

Thousands of Lincoln County students will be headed to and from school today as classroom doors open for the start of a new year, drawing teachers, parents and school buses loaded with children onto area streets.

Lincoln County Sheriff David Carpenter issued a press release earlier this month with helpful reminders and tips regarding school bus and traffic safety.

Although school buses are considered one of the safer forms of transportation for students, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed nearly 20 school-aged children annually perish in school transportation-related crashes, particularly between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Carpenter noted in the release how children are often ready to see their parents or other guardians after exiting the bus and aren’t mindful of their surroundings and other area vehicles on the roadways.

“They are excited to tell their parents about all of the fun they had at school that day,” he said.

He encouraged parents to discuss the following school bus safety measures with their children:

  • Arrive at least five minutes early to the bus stop.
  • Stand at least three giant steps from the curb while waiting for the bus.
  • Before boarding the bus, wait until the vehicle completely stops, opens its doors, and the driver gives permission to enter.
  • Don’t walk behind a bus, and walk on the sidewalk when preparing to cross the street near a bus.
  • Make eye contact with the bus driver before crossing in front of the vehicle, and walk at least three giant steps away from the bus if walking beside it.
  • Hold onto the handrail when entering and exiting the bus.
  • Keep clothing with drawstrings, book bags and other lose items from getting caught in the handrail or bus door.
  • Do not retrieve an item that has been dropped near a stopped bus. Instead, tell the driver to wait or retrieve the item after the bus has driven away.

 

The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office offered the following safety precautions to motorists:

  • Use extreme caution when traveling in a school zone. Children are unpredictable in their actions.
  • Be more alert to children in the roadway if there are no sidewalks in the area.
  • Slow down and prepare to stop for flashing yellow school bus lights.
  • Do not pass a bus showing flashing red lights or an extended STOP arm. Wait until the lights stop, arm is withdrawn and bus starts moving again before driving.
  • Learn and obey the state school bus laws.

School buses keep more than 30 additional vehicles off roadways, preventing an increased number of potential collisions, the NHTSA’s American School Bus Council said on its website.

Buses additionally allow for cleaner air since a decreased number of vehicles are traveling and emitting fuel.

The NHTSA also showed a decline in Lincoln County wrecks over the last eight years, but the area still witnessed close to 300 injured victims from vehicle collisions in 2012.

For more traffic safety precautions, visit nhtsa.gov.

 

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