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It's Time For School Bus Safety

school busIt is back to school time, with Austin ISD students reporting to class next Monday, August 24th. As the kids go back to school, it’s important for all of us to be mindful of school bus safety. The good news is that school buses are generally safe. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics show that school buses are almost eight times as safe as cars. But things can still go wrong. There are several things that all of us can do to help make school bus transportation even safer.

We need to recognize that most accidents occur in a ten foot danger zone outside the bus. I had a horrible case a few years ago where a school bus driver was impatient, and she took off in an unsafe manner, driving over a young child’s foot. Fortunately, there are some things that can help improve the safety of this zone. Please make sure your kids know the following:

* When getting on the bus, stay out of the ten foot zone until you see the driver’s signal.
* When getting off the bus, look before stepping off the bus to be sure no cars are coming. And once off the bus, move away from the bus and out of the zone as quickly as possible.
* Before crossing the street, take five giant steps out from the front of the bus or until you can see the driver’s face. Then wait for the driver to signal that it’s safe to cross.
* Look left-right-left when coming to the edge of the bus to make sure that traffic is stopped.
* If you drop something near the bus, tell the bus driver. Never try to pick it up because the driver may not be able to see you.

For those of us that are drivers, we need to remember to:

* Watch out for children walking or bicycling to school, especially when we are backing out of a driveway or garage.
* Slow down. Watch out for children walking in the streets or congregating near bus stops.
* Be alert. Children arriving late for school or the bus may be tempted to dart out into the street without properly looking for traffic.

If we will all obey these rules, maybe the school year will be a little safer.

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