The yellow school bus is the safest vehicle on the road, but bus drivers can’t control every car around them. Police say it’s up to all the other drivers to keep students safe on and off the bus.
Police get complaints almost every day as drivers blow past school bus stop signs and speed through school zones.
A warning from police everywhere as students go back to school: watch your speed and your and kids.
“A lot of people get accustomed and complacent and not used to it,” says Kentucky State Police Trooper Corey King, pointing to summer vacation. He says drivers might forget what to do around schools and buses.
Every year in the U.S. kids are injured and killed walking to and from the school bus where they’re most vulnerable to distracted drivers.
Kentucky has around 800 to 850 wrecks every year involving buses. “That’s relatively low if you were to put in the equation how many miles these buses drive,” King says. Last year in Kentucky, three people died in bus accidents.
Indiana State Police is keeping a close eye on schools, too. Trooper Todd Ringle is posted outside Castle High School in Warrick County on their first day of class.
“We want people to focus on their driving, be patient, and slow down in school zones,” he says.
He uses his Twitter to remind people what to do when coming up to a school bus with a flashing stop sign. “We get this complaint almost every single day,” Ringle explains, “people disregarding the school bus stop arm.”
People caught driving past a school bus stop sign could be fined up to $500 or face 60 days in jail in Kentucky. In Indiana fines could go has high as $10,000.
The rule is simple: unless you’re on a divided highway, cars going both directions must stop for a bus with flashing lights.
Ringle says it’s not often drivers blatantly ignore the stop sign, but usually they’re distracted. If you’re distracted and can’t see a big yellow bus with flashing red lights chances are you won’t see a kid crossing the street, either.
“That’s really a recipe for disaster,” King says.
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