It’s September, and school is back in session in Kentucky. School buses are out on the roads, and kids are crossing streets—not always walking, and not always in a crosswalk.
Last year, there were 1,627 school bus–related accidents, which resulted in 506 injuries and five deaths. “Nothing strikes fear in [a] trooper’s mind like getting a call that there has been a bus-related crash,” says Trooper Michael Webb, spokesman for the Kentucky State Police (KSP).
“Many parents worry about their child’s safety once they set foot on the bus, but many of the injuries happen on the road outside of the bus,” Webb says. “As motorists, we need to take extra caution anytime we are in the vicinity of a school bus. Stop, slow down, and look for children who may be loading or unloading from the bus.”
Tpr. Webb considers distracted driving and speeding in a school zone the biggest dangers to children. “Many times inattentive drivers may not see stop signs, reduced speed limit signs, or even the flashing lights of a school bus,” he says.
So What Is the Law?
The law in Kentucky states that if a school bus being used in the transportation of children is stopped on a highway to load or unload passengers—indicated by the lowered stop arm and flashing signal lights—all vehicles coming from any direction must stop and not proceed until the bus is moving again.
Passing a school bus that is loading or unloading passengers is a class B misdemeanor for a first offense and a class A misdemeanor for a second offense.
Kids Have Rules, Too
The KSP recommends that parents review the following school bus safety rules with their children:
Rules for Getting on the School Bus
- When waiting for the bus, stay away from traffic and avoid roughhousing or other behavior that can lead to carelessness. Do not stray onto streets, alleys, or private property.
- Line up away from the street as the school bus approaches.
- Wait until the bus has stopped and the door opens before stepping onto the roadway.
- Use the handrail when stepping onto the bus.
Rules for Getting Off the School Bus
- If you have to cross the street in front of the bus, walk at least ten feet ahead of the bus along the side of the road until you can turn around and see the driver.
- Make sure the driver can see you.
- Wait for a signal from the driver before beginning to cross.
- When the driver signals, walk across the road, watching for sudden traffic changes.
- Do not cross the center line of the road until the driver has signaled that it is safe for you to begin walking.
- Stay away from the bus’s rear wheels at all times.
Correct Way to Cross the Street
- Always stop at the curb or the edge of the road and look left, then right, and then left again before crossing.
- Continue looking in this manner until you are safely across.
- If your vision is blocked by a parked car or other obstacle, move out to where drivers can see you and you can see other vehicles, stop, then look left-right-left again.
If your child has been hurt in a Kentucky school bus accident while en route to or from school, contact the Louisville accident lawyers at Gray and White Law. Call us at 502-210-8942 or toll free at 888-450-4456, and we’ll set you up with a FREE, no-obligation consultation.