EUSTIS — The Lake County Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST) is recognizing National School Bus Safety Week, Oct. 19-23, by sharing tips about school-bus safety.
“In the nation last year, there were five passenger fatalities and 15 pedestrian fatalities at school bus stops,” said Noble Olasimbo, Chairman of the Lake County CTST. “Don’t be involved in becoming a statistic — be extra cautious around schools, school buses and bus stops.”
The most dangerous part of the school bus ride is getting on and off the bus. The loading and unloading area is called the “danger zone,” which is on all sides of the bus where children are in the most danger of not being seen by the bus driver. Specifically, the area is 10 feet in front of the bus where the driver may be too high to see a child, 10 feet on either side of the bus where a child may be in the driver’s blind spot and the area behind the bus.
Many of the pedestrian fatalities in school bus-related crashes are children between 5 and 7 years old. Young children are most likely to be struck because they:
- Hurry to get on and off the bus
- Act before they think and have little experience with traffic
- Assume motorists will see them and will wait for them to cross the street
- Don’t always stay within the bus driver’s sight
Remind children of these school bus safety tips:
- If something falls under or near the bus, tell the driver. Never try to pick it up yourself.
- While waiting for the bus, stay in a safe place away from the street and the “danger zone.”
- When getting on or off the bus, look for the bus safety lights and make sure they are flashing.
- Be alert to traffic. When getting on or off the bus, look twice before crossing the street.
- When the driver says it is safe to cross the street, remember to cross in front of the bus.
- Stay in your seat and sit quietly so the driver is not distracted.
- If there are seat belts on the school bus, be sure to learn to use them correctly.
The Lake County CTST is a multi-jurisdictional agency with cooperation between Lake County, its municipalities, other organizations and concerned citizens. The CTST uses a multi-disciplinary approach to solve roadway safety problems in Lake County. The team is comprised of individuals representing engineering, law enforcement, emergency services, traffic-safety education and the public.
For more information about the Lake County CTST, call Noble Olasimbo or Cheryl Sutherland at (352) 483-9048.