Drive carefully, school is almost back in session

Published 11:39 am Tuesday, August 1, 2017

In the coming weeks students across Kentucky, including Clark County, will return to school.

As the summer winds down and classes resume, we can expect to see school buses return to the roadways in Clark County.

Along with that return comes a reminder from the Kentucky Department of Education about the importance of following laws regarding driving around buses.

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Billboards reminding motorists “It’s not JUST a stop sign, it’s a child’s life,” are going up around the state — including nearby Fayette and Montgomery counties.

When it comes to the importance of practicing safe driving laws around buses, Kentucky Commissioner of Education Stephen Pruitt said it best in a recent news release.

“It is paramount that our children arrive at school and back home safely each day,” he said. “While stopping for a school bus might be a minor inconvenience for drivers, the penalty for passing a stopped school bus can be severe. Drivers can receive a fine, but for a child, it could be a matter of life or death.”

In Kentucky, it is illegal to pass a stopped school bus in either direction on a two-lane road if the warning lights on the bus are on.

School bus drivers use a flashing signal light system to alert motorists of what is about to happen:

— 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.

— Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate that the bus has stopped and that children are getting on or off the bus. Motorists must stop their cars and wait until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop sign is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving before they can start moving again.

More than 385,000 children in Kentucky ride some 9,855 school buses each day. To keep those children safe during their travels, the National Transportation Safety Administration offers these tips to 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 the neighborhood.

— Watch for children playing and congregating near bus stops.

— Be alert. Children arriving late for the bus may dart into the street without looking for traffic.

School is almost bask in session, drive carefully!