Alabama's school bus drivers, mechanics, transportation supervisors, and other transportation employees work diligently to ensure safe transportation for the more than 377,000 elementary and secondary students transported to and from school each day of the school year. However, the safety of these students should be of the utmost importance to all.
The Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) is urging citizens, particularly motorists, to join with the department in observing School Bus Safety Week, October 21-25. School Bus Safety Week is an ideal time for drivers to reacquaint themselves with the law and what is required to help prevent crashes, injuries, and fatalities.
In the 2012-2013 school year, there were 272 collisions, 10 injuries, and one fatality involving school buses in Alabama, according to the ALSDE. Most student fatalities occur outside the bus during loading/unloading, and the younger the child is, the more vulnerable he or she is to be killed outside the school bus. It is also important to note that the afternoon school bus trip is twice as dangerous as the morning school bus trip.
"The Alabama State Department of Education urges all Alabamians to be especially cautious where school buses and schoolchildren are involved," said ALSDE Pupil Transportation Program Administrator Brad Holley. "We also ask that every citizen of Alabama work to make every week a safe one for the students of our state, not just during School Bus Safety Week."
Motorists may be aware that the law requires all traffic from both directions on a two-lane roadway to stop when school buses stop for passengers, but there are also rules to ensure safety in other situations.
Traffic from both directions must also stop for school buses on:
The rule, however, differs for traffic on roadways with four or more lanes that have a median separation. On such highways, only traffic following a school bus must stop. Traffic traveling in the opposite direction should continue moving.
Celebrated annually during the third full week of October, School Bus Safety Week promotes awareness through poster contests and distribution of community awareness toolkits. For additional information or safety tips, visit The National Association for Pupil Transportation or The American School Bus Council.
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