As summer break ends, parents and schoolchildren are preparing for the beginning of another academic year. They take advantage of back to school sales on clothes and school supplies and start adjusting their schedules to meet the daily demands of the new school year. Teachers, school boards, bus drivers and others that work in schools are also gearing up for another term, either eager to get to work or mourning the end of the summer recess.
But it’s not just the parents, children and education workers that should be readying themselves for the start of a new school year. Every driver should also revisit safe driving practices to remind themselves of the importance of safely sharing the road with school buses. August is Back to School Safety Month and it’s a great time to remember why it matters.
Illegally Passing School Buses is Far Too Common
Over 50,000 school buses carry approximately 2.3 million children to and from school every day in New York. It’s extremely important for drivers to come to a complete stop when a bus engages its stop sign, yet many drivers still illegally pass school buses. In just one month earlier this year, there were more than 50,000 illegal passes of school buses in New York State. According to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles, most school bus-related fatalities and injuries occur when a child is crossing the street after being discharged from the bus.
There are also steep penalties and fines for drivers who illegally pass a school bus in New York. A first-time conviction can result in a $250 to $400 fine and possible imprisonment of up to 30 days. Fines for subsequent convictions can range up to $1,000 and possible imprisonment of up to 180 days.
Back-to-School Safety Tips
- Always reduce your speed and pay close attention to the presence of children when in school zones or around school buses.
- When you see a school bus’s lights flashing yellow, remember that it is about to stop.
- Always come to a complete stop when a school bus engages its stop sign, including buses on the opposite side of divided highways, on multiple-lane roadways, in parking lots and on school grounds.
- Include ID information and any relevant medical information in your child’s backpack.
- Talk to your children about the importance of looking both ways before crossing streets.
- Tell your child to wear a seatbelt once seated in the bus.
- Remind your child not to run in between parked cars in parking lots and to use the same principles as they would when crossing streets.
- Instruct your child to look both ways before exiting the bus and to take five big steps out of the bus to get out of the danger zone.
Allowing your child to ride a school bus is a good move for most parents. They are typically safer than other vehicles and they reduce traffic. Educate your children on school bus safety and always follow best practices when driving around school buses or school zones.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a vehicle accident, contact Kaplan Lawyers PC to learn more about your legal options. Contact Kaplan Lawyers PC by filling out our online form or calling us at any of our office locations:
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