Everyone needs to be careful as school resumes


The Tribune

Can you believe the Jackson County Fair is over and children attending Crothersville Community Schools returned to school Thursday? Classes begin an the rest of county schools this coming week.

We’ll take this space and moment to remind motorists to be extra alert as children return to school, walking along streets and roads, and boarding and exiting those big, yellow school buses.

Similarly, parents should be sure to remind their children of the need to stop and look both ways, be sure not to dart out between parked vehicles or in front of their school bus, be sure to follow other safety rules and remember not to distract their bus drivers.

And motorists, remember to obey state laws governing school buses, stop arms and the need to stop when arms go out. Those red lights that flash ahead of the stop arm coming out don’t mean that you should step on the gas and drive like heck. They mean stop. So stop, and wait.

A tougher state law was adopted this year after three siblings were fatally struck in October in northern Indiana’s Fulton County while crossing a highway to board their stopped school bus. Senate Bill 2 raises penalties for violators who ignore school bus stop arms and gives schools the option to conduct referendums for funding to pay for stop-arm cameras.

It also requires school districts to minimize bus stops that make children cross highways in high-speed areas, and it will potentially increase public awareness regarding Hoosier school bus laws.

In July, Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill opened the door for the state’s school districts to add another option in their quest for safety: extended school bus stop arms.

Hill announced his official opinion that no federal or state laws prohibit the use of the extended stop arms and a state board that sets safety standards for Indiana’s school buses may at some time authorize the use of the devices that extend into oncoming traffic. Hill’s opinion was the result of a request by Michael Mentzel, chairman of the Indiana State School Bus Committee, and Michael LaRocco, director of transportation at the Indiana Department of Education. Good for them.

Here are some school bus safety tips to keep in mind:

First, it is always a good idea to arrive at the bus stop a few minutes early. This keeps children from rushing to the bus stop and also keeps the bus on schedule. Be sure to wait for your bus in a safe place, well off the roadway.

Stay in your safe bus stop area until the bus comes to a complete stop. Once the bus has stopped and the driver opens the door, enter the bus in an orderly manner, single file, and be sure to use the handrail.

Remember that the bus driver is always in charge and to be sure to follow their instructions. Be courteous to the driver and your fellow passengers at all times.

Once you get to your seat, remain seated, facing forward, while the bus is in motion. Always keep your head and arms inside the bus at all times and keep the aisles clear.

Loud talking and laughing diverts the driver’s attention and could result in a serious accident, so be sure to remain quiet and orderly.

When you leave the bus, be alert to traffic. If you are crossing the street, always cross in front of the bus. Take five giant steps in front of the bus so that you can see the driver’s face. Walk out to the edge of the bus, then stop, look left-right-left, then cross.

Let’s be careful out there.

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Area children are returning to school.

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Motorists should be extra alert as children return to school, walking along area streets and roads and boarding and exiting school buses. Similarly, parents should be sure to remind their children of the need to follow safety rules while walking and riding the school bus.


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