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Billboards, PSA remind motorists to stop for school buses

As the new school year approaches, some 50 billboards across Kentucky remind motorists of the dangers of passing a stopped school bus.

“It is paramount that our children arrive at school and back home safely each day,” said Commissioner of Education Stephen Pruitt. “While stopping for a school bus might be a minor inconvenience for drivers, the penalty for passing a stopped school bus can be severe. Drivers can receive a fine, but for a child, it could be a matter of life or death. I ask all Kentuckians to be especially cautious around school buses, not just at the beginning of the school year, but year round.”

Loading and unloading the school bus is the most common time for accidents. In Kentucky, it is illegal to pass a stopped school bus in either direction on a two-lane road if the warning lights on the bus are on. Bus drivers use a flashing signal light system to alert motorists of what is about to happen:

  • Yellow flashing lights indicate that bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children. Motorists should slow down and prepare to stop their vehicles.
  • Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate that the bus has stopped and students are getting on or off the bus. Motorists must stop their cars and wait until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop sign is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving before they can proceed.

Tips

The National Transportation Safety Administration offers suggestions for motorists:

  • Watch for children playing and congregating near bus stops.
  • Be alert. Children arriving late for the bus might dart into the street without looking for traffic.
  • When backing out of a driveway or leaving a garage, watch out for children walking or bicycling to school.
  • Slow down and watch for children walking in the street, especially if there are no sidewalks in the neighborhood.
  • Observe the posted speed limit in school zones.

Did you know?

More than 385,000 children in Kentucky ride some 9,855 school buses each day.