Keep Maine Students Safe As They Take the Bus This School Year
There were far too many headlines about kids being killed last school year because of carelessness around school buses. With the next school year beginning in the next couple of weeks it's important we all be reminded of how to safely share the road with buses.
1. Prepare: After three months without seeing buses on the road, it's incredibly easy to become lax with the morning commute. Don't be that guy that leaves for work without accounting for the chance of being stuck behind the bus. It's like Christmas, this time shouldn't sneak up on you because it happens at the same time every year. Prevent the road rage and plan ahead.
2. Be mindful of railroad tracks: Buses stop at all railroad crossings! So pay attention so you don't end up running into the back of the bus. As a general rule you shouldn't be following so close to a large vehicle such as a bus or a tractor-trailer truck that you can't see their mirrors. If you can't see their mirrors, they likely can't see you. Plus, this gives you a cushion for abrupt and unexpected stops.
3. Know what the flashing lights mean: The bus driver is required to turn these on at least 100 feet before they stop to pick-up or drop-off students and remain on until the pick-up/drop-off is complete.
4. Stop means STOP: When the red lights are flashing and the stop sign is out, you MUST stop whether you're behind the bus or coming from the opposite direction. This indicates that someone is being picked up or dropped off and could be walking across the street. If the roadway is separated by curbing or other physical barrier, you don't need to stop.
5. Know the risks: It should be enough to realize that the risk includes harming kids but if you do break the law and overtake or pass a bus, you could have to pay a fine of at least $250 for the first offense and for the second offense in three years, an added 30-day suspension of a driver's license.
So remember, plan, prepare, and be aware!