Guest Column: Troopers offer safety tips for a safe school year
The Delaware State Police would like to offer safety guidelines for a great beginning to this new and exciting school year. With the start of school in the next few weeks, thousands of Delaware’s precious children will ride a school bus every day. Some of our youngsters will be introduced to school bus transportation for the first time.
Knowing this, everyone should consistently make safety a high priority for our children walking to and from the school bus stops. Motorists must share the road with buses during the school year and must take into account any possible delays and exercise good judgement and patience throughout the school year.
Delaware’s over 1,800 school buses travel great distances throughout the school year. It is most important to understand the dangers for children and their families. There are some easy steps children, parents and motorists can do to make this a safe school year for Delaware students.
• If your child’s bus stop is not near your home, walk the route to the bus stop with your child until they are familiar with it and follow safe practices.
• Familiarize yourself with the bus driver.
• Make sure you have the transportation director’s contact information just in case you have any questions or encounter a problem.
• Start your day with plenty of time to get to the bus stop.
• Stay alert as you walk to the bus stop. Always be aware of your surroundings.
• Know your bus driver and bus number.
• Wait for the bus in a safe place. Avoid horseplay that may cause you to fall into the street.
• Never run to or from the bus.
• When the bus arrives make sure it comes to a complete stop before approaching it.
• Remain seated at all times while the bus is in motion.
• Don’t push or shove when getting on or off the bus.
• Always keep your arms and head inside the bus.
• Learn about the “danger zone.” There is a 10-foot-wide area on all sides of the bus where the driver cannot see you. When you get off the bus, step outside of the danger zone until you can see the driver’s face.
• Only cross in front of the bus where the driver can see you.
• Never run behind the bus, or bend down to pick up an object. The bus driver may think you’ve crossed safely and start to move.
• Do not distract the bus driver so that he/she may get you safely to and from school.
• Listen to the bus driver and bus aid to ensure your safety.
• Make sure to be courteous and respectful to the school bus driver
• Please slow down and give yourself some time to make adjustments to the new change in your schedule and traffic patterns.
• Drivers traveling in either direction on a two-lane road must stop when a school bus activates its flashing red lights and stop sign or arm.
• Drivers traveling in the same direction as a school bus on a four-lane, divided road must stop for a stopped school bus. Drivers travelling in the opposite direction are not required to stop.
• Delaware law requires vehicles to stop even when the bus is stopped to load/unload students on private property.
• Anyone convicted of passing a stopped school bus can be fined as much as $230 dollars for the first offense, and as much as $575 for the second offense. The individual will also have their license suspended for between 1 and 12 months.
• Please watch for the little ones crossing the roads and parking lots to and from the bus or private vehicles.
• Please watch your speed at all times, especially in school zones. The school resource officers and other law-enforcement officers will monitor the safety of all who are going to and from the schools.
School bus drivers
• Thank you so much for doing your part to help keep our precious cargo safe and secure! We thank you for your continued professionalism and courtesy while you drive each day with our children.
• The Delaware State Police wants you to “Be Smart, Be Alert and Be Safe this School Year!”
By Sgt. Richard D. Bratz
Director of Public Information,
Delaware State Police