EUSTIS — Lake County Schools and the Lake County Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST) is recognizing National School Bus Safety Week on Oct. 22-26, reminding all motorists to exercise caution as school buses travel the roads and highways each day.
Schools and safety advocates are using the week as an opportunity to highlight the importance of school bus safety. Florida’s theme for the week, “Stop on Red – Kids Ahead,” reminds motorists that they must stop when a school bus flashes its red lights and extends its stop arms.
“As drivers, we have a responsibility to students everywhere to know and obey the school bus laws,” said Sgt. Tom McKane, from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and Chairman of the Lake County CTST.
“When transportation is required, school buses are the safest way for students to get to and from school,” said David Solomon, Supervisor of the School District Transportation Department. “This week is an excellent time to teach and reiterate to students and parents simple measures they can take while going to and from the bus stop, getting on and off the bus, and riding in the bus, which are listed below.”
“Danger Zone” — The most dangerous part of the school bus ride is getting on and off the bus. Loading and unloading, 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 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 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
Parents should 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 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 352-483-9048. For more information about school bus safety, log on to www.lake.k12.fl.us/transportation and view the bus safety brochure.