As summer draws to a close, schools will soon be back in session, causing traffic to inevitably pick up over the next couple of weeks. With this, it is important that drivers allow additional time for their commutes, stay alert for children walking to schools and bus stops, and stop for school buses. Here is what you need to know to safely commute during the school year.
Keeping Students Safe on the Road
According to the National Research Council, The National Academy of Sciences, there are more than 800 students killed in their commute to and from school each year. To keep children safe, the state of Maryland has responded with stricter law enforcement surrounding school buses and drivers stopping for them consistently on the road.
Stop! It’s the Law.
Under Maryland law, drivers approaching a stopped school bus with activated flashing red lights must stop for the bus. This applies for drivers in both directions, as all drivers must stop whether or not they are traveling in the same direction as the school bus, or in the opposite direction. While many drivers who pass a stopped school bus do so because they are impatient or distracted, many are simply unaware of the law. Any violation of these laws can result in fines and citations. In some places, school bus drivers can even report passing vehicles.
What You Need to Know on the Road
As you approach a school bus while driving, there are some important steps to take to keep kids, the bus driver, and other drivers on the road safe during your commute:
- DO NOT pass a stopped school bus when it has its stop-sign arm extended, and it’s flashing red lights activated.
- DO NOT pass a stopped school bus until the signals, and flashing red lights are turned off.
- Under no circumstance should you ever pass on the right side of a school bus. This is where students enter and exit.
Following these simple rules of the road during the school year can make a significant impact on your ability to keep kids, drivers, and yourself safe on the road each day.
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