Poughkeepsie… With children across the county returning to school this week and next, Dutchess County Sheriff Adrian “Butch” Anderson and County Executive Marc Molinaro join with the Dutchess County Traffic Safety Board to remind motorists, parents and students to follow the rules for school bus safety and exercise caution on the road. Motorists are encouraged to drive carefully and use caution, especially during the school year, when students are boarding and disembarking school buses.
Sheriff Anderson said, “Please follow the law and use caution while out on the roadways to keep our kids safe while going to and from school. The safety of our young people largely depends on the actions of drivers out on the roadways, and it is vital that everyone do their part to help our youth have a safe and happy school year.”
County Executive Molinaro said, “Throughout Dutchess County, thousands of families will watch their children step on a bus for the first time this school year. I urge all motorists to be courteous, obey traffic safety laws, and do their part to ensure our young students arrive safely.”
Motorists are asked to pay close attention and remember the following:
- Coming to a complete stop is required by law of drivers approaching a school bus with its red lights on. This is required when approaching from either direction and also on divided highways, multiple lane roadways, parking lots and on school grounds.
- The Sheriff’s Office has a strict zero tolerance for those stopped for passing a stopped school bus, and those stopped for it will be ticketed.
- Passing a stopped school bus is a serious offense in NYS, and the penalties are severe.
- When the lights on the bus are yellow, it means that the bus is about to stop. In this situation drivers are advised to slow down and prepare to stop for the bus; do not try to get past the bus before it stops.
- Be aware that in some cases children may be standing near the edge of the roadway waiting for the bus; drive slowly and use extra caution in these areas.
- When backing out of a driveway or leaving a garage, watch out for children walking or riding a bicycle to school.
- Be alert that children arriving late for the bus may dart into the street without looking for traffic.
- Students should pay special attention to school bus safety in and around school zones, and near bus stops. School children and parents should take notice of the following bus safety tips:
- Children should get to the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive, to avoid rushing.
- When waiting for the school bus, children should wait at the bus stop, and stand back five giant steps from the curb.
- Children need to avoid returning to the bus for any items left behind.
- Remind children to never bend down near the bus.
- If a child needs to cross the street in front of the bus, he/she should make contact with the driver and wait for the signal that it is safe to cross in front of the bus. Children should always look both ways before crossing the street.
- Behind the bus is the “danger zone.” Remind children to never go behind the bus where the driver can’t see.
In the United States, 23 million students take the bus to and from school each day, keeping an estimated 17.3 million cars off the roads every year.
“The beginning of the school year brings us each an opportunity to once again familiarize ourselves with the rules of school bus safety,” County Executive Molinaro said. “Please allow additional time to your morning and afternoon commutes to provide students a safe ride to and from school. There’s nothing more important than our children’s safety. Together, we can provide them a safe and rewarding school year.”
More information on bus safety rules can be viewed online here: http://www.co.dutchess.ny.us/CountyGov/Departments/TrafficSafety/RMA_Bus_Safety_Rules_Hand_Out.pdf