Our View: Remember laws when driving near buses, schools

Published 10:15 am Friday, August 10, 2018

In less than a week, Clark County students will return to school. As this happens, Kentucky drivers should be reminded of the need for caution while driving in areas where students will be.

There are several in laws in Kentucky that apply to keep students safe.

One law requires reduced speed in and around schools. School zones are designed to slow drivers down when children are likely to be present and drivers should heed posted speed limits.

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Drivers should also be aware laws exist when approaching a school bus. The Kentucky Department of Education and the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety have teamed up to help educate the public regarding school bus passing laws.

According to a press release issued Thursday, 726 drivers illegally passed school buses that were loading or unlading students on April 25, 2018. Some drivers from this sample date passed on the right side of the bus where students are often present.

According to accident reports, more students are injured getting on or off the bus than at any other time during the bus ride.

KDE and KOHS offers some specific tips regarding safe practices.

When drivers see the yellow flashing lights on the bus, that means the bus is going to stop. Drivers should stop too, and not rush to pass the bus. Red flashing lights mean the bus is stopped to load or unload students. Drivers should stop, wait, and not move until the bus moves.

According to the law, “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 into 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  or more lanes.”

Illegally passing buses is a national issue, according to the press release. Since laws are not the same in every state and, clearly, some people are not educated about these laws, it is important to offer reminders. To learn more, visit tinyurl.com/KyBusSafety.

The goal for bus drivers is to ensure our children get to and from school safely. The lives of hundreds of school children rely on them daily. Safe trips can only truly be ensured when other drivers act responsibly and considerately when driving near buses.

Schools and bus drivers offer reminders and training for students to know how to safely board and exit a bus. There are also policies in place to keep students safe. But there is also a burden on others who share the road to make sure our students remain safe.

Accidents happen, but with caution and care, many can be avoided.

It is imperative drivers use caution around schools and buses to keep students safe.