Keep our children safe; stop for busses

Passing a school bus stopped to pick up or drop off children is against the law and may result in criminal charges.

School buses are one of the safest forms of transportation on the road today. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, riding a bus to school is 13 times safer than riding in a passenger vehicle and 10 times safer than walking to school.

The reality of school bus safety is that more children are hurt outside the bus than inside as passengers. Most of the children who lose their lives in bus-related crashes are pedestrians, 4 to 7 years old, who are hit by the bus or by motorists illegally passing a stopped school bus. For this reason, it is necessary to know the proper laws and procedures for sharing the road safely with school buses:

All 50 states have a law making it illegal to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children.

School buses use yellow flashing lights to alert motorists that they are preparing to stop to load or unload children. Red flashing lights and an extended stop sign arm signals to motorists that the bus is stopped and children are getting on or off the bus.

All 50 states require that traffic in both directions stop on undivided roadways when students are entering or exiting a school bus.

While state laws vary on what is required on a divided roadway, in all cases, traffic behind the school bus (traveling in the same direction) must stop. In Virginia, the only time drivers are not required to stop for a school bus is when there is a physical barrier between the roads (ie. median strip or guard rail).

The area 10 feet around a school bus is where children are in the most danger of being hit. Stop your car far enough from the bus to allow children the necessary space to safely enter and exit the bus.

Be alert. Children are unpredictable. Children walking to or from their bus are usually very comfortable with their surroundings. This makes them more likely to take risks, ignore hazards or fail to look both ways when crossing the street.

Never pass a school bus on the right. It is illegal and could have tragic consequences.

At three of the Appomattox County public schools, there are crossing guards that regulate the traffic flow in and out of these schools and make it safe for students to cross the road. There is one traffic guard at Appomattox Elementary, one traffic guard at Appomattox Primary School and two crossing guards at Appomattox Middle School.

Please be aware that Appomattox County Schools will be in session beginning today. Typically, buses are on the road from 6:45 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.

Appomattox County Schools appreciates the community’s diligence in watching out for the buses to help keep children safe.

There are only two bus changes for this year. Bus 24 will be replacing bus 22. Bus 9 will be replacing bus 24. The routes and drivers will be the same. The only change will be the bus numbers.

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