Here comes the bus.
As the new school year begins, the Michigan Association for Pupil Transportation (MAPT) urges drivers to utilize simple back-to-school safety tips when approaching a school bus zone for the safety and protection of everyone.
"Our children travel in one of the safest vehicles on the road - a school bus," said Gary Bubar, MAPT executive director. "However, drivers must pay close attention near a school bus zone so students can get to and from school safely all year long."
The MAPT urges parents, school districts, traffic safety advocates and partners, including members of the media and the general public, to follow these important safety tips, as well as remind other drivers to:
- Think of a school bus as a traffic signal.
- Prepare to stop when the overhead lights are flashing yellow.
- Stop when the overhead lights are flashing red.
- Except when on divided highways, stop at least 20 feet from buses.
- Never pass a bus when the overhead lights are flashing.
- Look for clues like crossing guards, safety patrols, or bicycles that indicate children in the area.
- Before proceeding in a school bus zone, wait until children reach a safe location.
- Use extra caution in bad weather and when visibility is limited.
Unfortunately, thousands of vehicles illegally pass school buses in the United States every day, putting children at risk of injury or death.
"The safety of our students is our number one priority," said Bubar. "The best way that drivers can help protect our children is to stop when they see flashing red lights on a school bus."
In a one-day, 28-state survey conducted earlier this year by the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS), an estimated 76,000 vehicles illegally passed a school bus. In Michigan, 8,500 school buses participated in the survey; 1,771 vehicles illegally passed a school bus with 936 incidents.
Michigan law doubles fines and penalties for motorists that fail to exercise caution in school bus zones.
The mission of the MAPT is to promote safe and efficient pupil transportation. For more information, visit mapt.org.