Carroll County Public School students return to school Monday, Aug. 26.
To promote student safety and community awareness, the Sheriff’s Office will be conducting additional patrols as part of the Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention administered School Bus Safety Enforcement Program, according to a news release.
At the start and close of each school day, deputies will be alert for drivers illegally passing school buses while concentrating on school bus stops, bus routes and traffic at local schools.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, for 23 million students nationwide, the school day begins and ends with a trip on a school bus. However, the greatest risk for these kids is not riding the bus, but approaching or leaving the bus, according to police.
During the past decade 130 students nationwide have been struck and killed waiting at the bus stop, or while boarding and walking away from the school bus, according to the Sheriff's Office.
Police urge drivers to remember:
- When driving in neighborhoods with school zones, watch out for children who may be thinking about getting to school, but may not be thinking of getting there safely.
- Slow down. Watch for children walking in the street, especially if there are no sidewalks in neighborhood.
- Slow down. Watch for children playing and congregating near bus stops.
- Be alert. Children arriving late for the bus may dart into the street without looking for traffic.
- Understand and follow Maryland Vehicle Law, which states that when a school bus activates its alternately flashing red lights: “…the driver of any other vehicle meeting or overtaking the school vehicle shall stop at least 20 feet from the rear of the school vehicle, if approaching the school vehicle from its rear, or at least 20 feet from the front of the school vehicle if approaching from … its front… and may not proceed until the school vehicle resumes motion or the alternately flashing red lights are deactivated.”
Still, police say enforcement is not enough. Police recommend that parents teach their children to follow these common sense practices to make school bus transportation safer:
- Get to the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive.
- When the bus approaches, stand at least three giant steps (6 feet) away from the curb, and line up away from the street.
- Wait until the bus stops, the door opens, and the driver says that it’s okay before stepping onto the bus.
- If you have to cross the street in front of the bus, walk on the sidewalk or along the side of the road to a point at least five giant steps (10 feet) ahead of the bus before you cross. Be sure that the bus driver can see you, and you can see the bus driver.
- Use the handrails to avoid falls. When exiting the bus, be careful that clothing with drawstrings and book bags with straps don’t get caught in the handrails or doors.
- Always walk in front of the bus, never walk behind the bus.
- Walk at least three giant steps away from the side of the bus.