Use caution around school buses

Tragedies can be avoided if we all adhere to safety rules

With schools now open across the Hawkeye State school buses are once again a common sight on the roadways. With that in mind, Gov. Kim Reynolds and other state officials took the time at her administration’s weekly news conference on Aug. 29 to remind Iowans of the importance of adhering to state laws as well as commonsense safety rules. Preventing accidents that claim young lives should be a high priority for everyone.

According to information provided by the governor’s office, each school bus has a 10-foot “danger zone” around it, making it hard to see children trying to get on or off a bus or cross a highway.

In 2012, the state enacted “Keep Aware Driving-Youth Need School Safety Act” – or Kadyn’s Law. That stature stiffened penalties for passing a stopped school bus.

“Unfortunately, even with these increased penalties, we still have drivers who disobey the law,” Gov. Reynolds said. “In 2016, we saw 581 convictions in Iowa for failure to stop for a school bus.”

Drivers should not only adhere to state laws when near school buses, but also should be especially vigilant and avoid distractions. The governor reminded drivers of the following rules when they see the flashing lights on a school bus:

• Come to a complete stop as quickly as possible.

• Stop at least 15 feet from the bus.

• Remain stopped until the flashing lights are turned off and the stop arm is pulled back in.

She also urged Iowans to remind children that they also have a responsibility to be safe around buses. Students should:

• Stop and look both ways before crossing a street.

• Make sure the bus driver can see them when crossing in front of the bus.

• Never cross behind the bus.

• When getting on or off the bus, never cross the street until the bus driver signals it’s OK to cross.

• If they drop something near the bus, don’t pick it up. Instead, tell the bus driver and wait for instructions.

As another school year gets underway, let’s all resolve to take the precautions necessary to protect young folks from harm.

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