Campaign Urges Drivers To Be Safe As Kids Get On And Off School Buses

August 31, 2017
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A campaign is launching across New York State to help ensure children are safe while catching the school bus.

It’s called the School’s Open – Drive Carefully Campaign, which is designed to specifically make sure kids across the state stay out of harm’s way.

Valerie has seen it with her own eyes.

They just keep going, like, they just don’t care at all,” she said to news10

Cars speed by as her two young children get off the bus.

“It’s dangerous because my kids get off, and they actually have to cross the street,” she said.

Every school year, it’s a new worry. Not just for Valerie but for all parents across the Capital Region.

“People are more distracted on the road it seems, and I do worry about people passing buses or speeding or not paying attention that they’re stopping,” another parent Jackie Weaver said.

“Somebody speeding by as your kids are going off to school – it’s so dangerous,” parent Matt Clarke said.

Now, AAA has teamed up with New York State Police to kick off the new safe driving campaign aimed at getting drivers to pay attention and slow down when school buses are around.

Motor vehicle-related crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 5 to 14.

It’s heartbreaking,” Valerie said. “You would never want to see your kids get hit or anything like that.”

Ayman Slaoui, 9, had some rather close calls himself.

They just speed by the buses,” he said. “When you see a car go right in front of you, you’re like, ‘Oh, my god; I almost got hit.’”

The campaign, which will be seriously enforced by police, asks motorists to slow down, come to complete stops and eliminate distractions.

It’s something that Valerie is thankful for.

“More people need to be just looking at the road, looking at their surroundings,” she said. “We can prevent all of that from happening, especially with little kids.”

The campaign began Wednesday and will run through October 13.

Here are a few general rules to keep in mind when it comes to school bus safety:

  1. According to Consumerreports.org, it’s a good idea to be outside and waiting for the bus about five minutes before it’s scheduled to arrive. This is because rushing to get to the bus could result in decreased awareness and increased danger.
  2. Be sure that your child is appropriately dressed for the weather and for bus safety, including his backpack. Backpacks shouldn’t be too big and straps shouldn’t be dangling so that they could get caught in bus doors, railings or get stepped on.
  3. Kids need to stay out of the road — at least six feet back — until the bus comes to a complete stop and the driver motions and opens the doors for children to enter. Even when a driver is motioning, it’s important to still be on the lookout for traffic if crossing the street.
  4. Never go behind a bus. If something happens to get dropped in the road, let the drive know. He may not be able to see children behind or immediately next to the bus.
  5. Stress the importance of listening to the bus driver’s instructions while on the bus. At railroad crossings, for example, drivers will expect children to be silent so they can listen for trains.
  6. Remind your child to follow the same rules for getting off the school bus. They should wait until the bus is stopped until leaving their seat, and then wait for the driver’s signal if crossing the street.

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