School bus safety week encouraging drivers to keep students safe - WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

School bus safety week encouraging drivers to keep students safe

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Do your part to keep students safe. That's the message from the Alabama Department of Education.

"Alabama's school bus drivers, mechanics, transportation supervisors, and other transportation employees work diligently to ensure safe transportation for the more than 377,000 elementary and secondary students transported to and from school each day of the school year," according to a news release from the Alabama Department of Education. "However, the safety of these students should be of the utmost importance to all."

Education officials are asking drivers in Alabama to join them in recognizing and observing School Bus Safety Week, which began on Monday and continues through Friday.

"School Bus Safety Week is an ideal time for drivers to reacquaint themselves with the law and what is required to help prevent crashes, injuries, and fatalities," according to officials. "In the 2012-2013 school year, there were 272 collisions, 10 injuries, and one fatality involving school buses in Alabama, according to the ALSDE. Most student fatalities occur outside the bus during loading/unloading, and the younger the child is, the more vulnerable he or she is to be killed outside the school bus. It is also important to note that the afternoon school bus trip is twice as dangerous as the morning school bus trip."

"The Alabama State Department of Education urges all Alabamians to be especially cautious where school buses and schoolchildren are involved," said ALSDE Pupil Transportation Program Administrator Brad Holley. "We also ask that every citizen of Alabama work to make every week a safe one for the students of our state, not just during School Bus Safety Week."

As a reminder, the law requires drivers rom both directions on a two-lane roadway to stop when school buses stop for passengers.

Here are some other rules to keep in mind this week and beyond as well:

  • Traffic from both directions must also stop for school buses on:
  • Roadways with two lanes and a center turning lane
  • Roadways with four or more lances and a center turning lane
  • Roadways with four lanes and no median separation

"The rule, however, differs for traffic on roadways with four or more lanes that have a median separation. On such highways, only traffic following a school bus must stop. Traffic traveling in the opposite direction should continue moving," according to state officials. "Celebrated annually during the third full week of October, School Bus Safety Week promotes awareness through poster contests and distribution of community awareness toolkits."

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