HENDERSON, Ky. — With many schools slated to begin across the Commonwealth, the Kentucky State Police are urging motorists to be alert for loading and unloading school buses. As a reminder, Kentucky law (KRS 189.370) requires if any school or church bus used in the transportation of children is stopped upon a highway for the purpose of receiving or discharging passengers, with the stop arm and signal lights activated, the operator of a vehicle approaching from any direction shall bring their vehicle to a stop and shall not proceed until the bus has completed receiving or discharging passengers and has been put in motion. The stop requirement provided for in this section shall not apply to vehicles approaching a stopped bus from the opposite direction upon a highway of four or more lanes.
Passing a loading/unloading school/church bus is a class B misdemeanor for the first offense and a class A misdemeanor for the second offense. Any person who violates this law will be subject to being cited or arrested.
Another concern is speeding motorists in school zones. Be aware of school zones in your area and remember to adjust your speed accordingly. Effective July 13, 2004, the fines have been doubled for speeding violators in school zones where the speed limit has been lowered and flashing lights have been installed and are flashing at the time.
Kentucky State Police would like to remind parents of a few safety tips to make this school year safe for all:
Riding the Bus
School bus transportation is a very safe option. In fact, buses are safer than cars! Each year though, many children are injured or killed in an incident involving a school bus. More often than not, these deaths and injuries didn’t occur in a crash, but as the pupils were entering and exiting the bus. Remember these safety tips:
- Have a safe place to wait for your bus (away from traffic and the street)
- Stay away from the bus until it comes to a complete stop and the driver and/or monitor signals you to enter
- When being dropped off, exit the bus and walk ten giant steps away from the bus. Keep a safe distance between you and the bus. Also, remember that the bus operator can see you best when you are a distance from the bus
- Use the handrail to enter and exit the bus
- Stay away from the bus until the driver gives his/her signal that it’s okay to approach
- Don’t cut between parked buses in school loading/unloading zones. Only use marked crosswalks
- Be aware of the street traffic around you. Drivers are required to follow certain rules of the road concerning school buses; however, not all do. Protect yourself and watch out!
Walking and Biking to School
Even if you don’t ride in a motor vehicle, you still have to protect yourself. Because of minimal supervision, young pedestrians face a wide variety of dangers while walking to and from school. We would encourage parents to take some time to talk with your children about their expectations as pedestrians. We have heard from many drivers who say students enter crosswalks without looking and don’t even watch for vehicles when in the roadway. Here are a few basic safety tips to follow:
- Mind all traffic signals and/or the crossing guard — never cross the street against a light, even if you don’t see any traffic coming
- Don’t make any sudden moves into the path of a closely approaching vehicle (they will not have sufficient time to yield to you)
- Walk with a buddy
- While walking, remove headset or earbuds in order to hear approaching traffic or people
- Wear reflective material…it makes you more visible to street traffic
- If riding a bike, wear a helmet
- Walk your bike through intersections
Riding in a Car
- You might have heard before that most traffic crashes occur close to home … that’s because they do
- Seatbelts are the best form of protection to have in the event of a crash
- You are four times more likely to be seriously injured or killed if ejected from a vehicle
- Everyone needs to be buckled up properly. That means older children in seat belts, younger children in booster seats, and little children in child safety seats.
For the next six weeks, KSP troopers will be increasing stationary and moving patrols in school zones during the morning and afternoon hours. Motorists who routinely travel corridors with school zones should be mindful of the restricted speed limits during these times.