October 17-21 is national school bus safety month. Riding on the bus continues to be the safest form of transportation in the nation. It has to be. School bus drivers carry the most precious cargo there is – our children. Waterford Unified School District drivers are well trained, and continue to participate in annual training throughout their careers. In addition, school buses are designed to withstand even serious crashes, however unlikely, without serious injury to the passengers. The new school buses at Waterford USD come equipped with cross body seatbelts, which further protect students in the event of a crash. In fact, the greatest risk for children is not while riding the bus, but in approaching and leaving the bus due to the risks that nearby drivers present. The best way parents and the community can protect children’s safety is to STOP WHEN THE RED LIGHTS FLASH.
The flashing lights and stop arm on a bus are activated when a driver is preparing to load and unload students. During this time, all drivers traveling both directions are legally required to stop at a reasonable distance from the front and rear of the bus. While there are some exceptions to this rule, around Waterford the best practice is for all drivers to STOP WHEN THE RED LIGHTS FLASH.
It may seem like a long wait sometimes, but bus drivers must follow specific safety protocols that cannot be rushed. For example, drivers are required to escort children in grades K-8 when crossing the street. Even if you can’t see children from your vehicle, flashing RED means there’s children ahead. A few moments of you time is not worth risking a child’s life.
Other ways you can help keep kids safe at bus stops include the following:
- Reduce your speed and watch for children during the morning and evening school commute hours, especially when driving in school zones. Children are often excited and distracted, and may dart into the street without realizing the danger.
- If you are meeting the bus to pick up or drop off your child, park on the same side of the street to minimize the number of students crossing the road.
- Be aware that the danger zone around the bus extends more that 10 feet out from the sides of the bus. These are areas with minimal visibility for the driver. Move away from the bus when you see it approaching or departing the stop, and never cross directly in front of the bus.
Waterford Unified School District thanks you for helping to keep children safe by following these tips and STOPPING WHEN RED LIGHTS FLASH.
Questions? Contact the WUSD Transportation Director, Suzanne Bauer.: 209-874-1809 Ext 8100