News Release

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Sergeant Michael B. Webb
Kentucky State Police
Public Affairs Branch
Office (502) 782-1780

Kentucky State Police Offer School Bus Safety Tips

Date of News Release: 08/07/07

(FRANKFORT, Ky.) - For some 22 million students nationwide, the school day begins and ends with a trip on a school bus. Unfortunately, each year many children are injured and several are killed in school bus incidents. Last year, Kentucky had 1,443 collisions that involved a bus (school and commercial) with 191 injuries and 3 fatalities.

With school starting in many communities, KSP Highway Safety Branch Commander Tim Lucas is urging motorists to be alert for loading and unloading school buses. "As motorists, we need to take extra caution anytime we are in the vicinity of a school bus. Stop, slow down and look for children who may be loading or unloading from the bus" said Lucas.

Kentucky law requires that if any school or church bus used in the transportation of children is stopped upon a highway for the purpose of receiving or discharging passengers, with the stop arm and signal lights activated, the operator of a vehicle approaching from any direction shall bring his vehicle to a stop and shall not proceed until the bus has completed receiving or discharging passengers and has been put in motion. The stop requirement provided for in this section shall not apply to vehicles approaching a stopped bus from the opposite direction upon a highway of four (4) or more lanes.

Passing a loading/unloading school/church bus is a class B misdemeanor for the first offense and a class A misdemeanor for the second offense. Any person who violates this law will be subject to being cited or arrested.

Nationwide, since 1994, 1,479 people have died in school transportation-related crashes - an average of 134 fatalities per year. Most of the people who lost their lives in those crashes (70%) were occupants of other vehicles involved. Non-occupants (pedestrians, pedalcyclists, etc.) accounted for 22 percent of the deaths, and occupants of school transportation vehicles accounted for 8 percent.

Although drivers of all vehicles are required to stop for a school bus when it is stopped to load or unload passengers, children should not rely on them to do so. The National Safety Council encourages parents to teach their children these rules for getting on and off the school bus.

Rules for getting on and off the school bus getting on the school bus

  • When waiting for the bus, stay away from traffic and avoid roughhousing or other behavior that can lead to carelessness. Do not stray onto streets, alleys or private property.
  • Line up away from the street or road as the school bus approaches.
  • Wait until the bus has stopped and the door opens before stepping onto the roadway.
  • Use the hand rail when stepping onto the bus.

Getting off the school bus

  • If you have to cross the street in front of the bus, walk at least ten feet ahead of the bus along the side of the road, until you can turn around and see the driver.
  • Make sure that the driver can see you.
  • Wait for a signal from the driver before beginning to cross.
  • When the driver signals, walk across the road, keeping an eye out for sudden traffic changes.
  • Do not cross the center line of the road until the driver has signaled that it is safe for you to begin walking.
  • Stay away from the bus' rear wheels at all times.

Correct way to cross the street

  • Children should always stop at the curb or the edge of the road and look left, then right, and then left again before crossing.
  • They should continue looking in this manner until they are safely across.
  • If students' vision is blocked by a parked car or other obstacle, they should move out to where drivers can see them and they can see other vehicles -- then stop, and look left-right-left again.
  • Citizens can contribute to additional child safety by reporting drivers who disregard school bus signals to the Kentucky State Police toll-free at 1-800-222-5555 (in the state of Kentucky only, does not work out of state). Kentucky law states that if any vehicle is witnessed to be in violation of this law, and the identity of the operator is not otherwise apparent, it shall be a rebuttable presumption that the registered owner was the operator of the vehicle at the time of the alleged violation and is subject to penalties.

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