RICHMOND – Students across the Commonwealth are one month into the school year, and the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) remind motorists of the importance of school bus safety laws and being extra alert for children getting on and off school buses.
“Since most school bus-related crashes happen when students are walking to or waiting at the bus stop, we encourage all drivers to be on the lookout when backing out of driveways and driving through neighborhoods,” said DMV Commissioner Dr. Gerald Lackey, the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative. “By following school bus safety laws and being extra cautious near bus stops, you can do your part to better ensure a safer school year for our children.”
“Our bus drivers work diligently to keep Virginia’s students safe on their way to and from school, but it’s not just up to them. We all have a responsibility to take safety seriously.” said VDOE Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Lisa Coons. “We recommend parents and guardians talk with their children about staying off their phones at the bus stop, being aware of their surroundings, and when possible, standing in groups to be more visible. Let’s work together to stay alert and keep our kids safe.”
School bus safety laws motorists are required to follow include:
- Motorists must stop for stopped school buses with flashing red lights and an extended stop sign when approaching from any direction.
- Motorists must remain stopped until everyone is clear and the bus moves again.
- Motorists must stop whenever the bus is loading or unloading passengers, even if the lights and stop sign are not activated.
- If a school bus is on the opposite side of a median or barrier, motorists aren’t required to stop; however, drivers should be prepared for students entering or exiting the school bus and crossing into their lanes.
Tips for students getting off and on the bus:
- If students have to cross the street in front of the bus, they should walk on the sidewalk or along the side of the road to a point at least five giant steps (10 feet) ahead of the bus before crossing.
- Students need to make sure they can see the bus driver, and that the driver sees them.
- When the bus approaches, students should line up at least five giant steps (10 feet) away from the curb and the street.
- When the bus comes to a complete stop and the door opens, students should check for traffic once more before boarding.
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