Despite being big and bright, school buses are often overlooked by distracted drivers who don’t notice the bus lights until it’s too late. First Student is reminding motorists to #StopOnRed! in support of National School Bus Safety Week, October 16-20.
Passing a stopped school bus is illegal in all 50 states. However, in its 2017 national stop arm survey, the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS) tallied more than 78,000 stop arm violations in just one day, which equates to more than 14 million illegal passes over the course of a 180-day school year.
“School buses are the safest form of transportation on the road today,” said First Student President Dennis R. Maple. “Our drivers take tremendous care when transporting students, but it is also crucial for motorists to pay attention, avoid distractions and watch for yellow school buses. Everyone in the community plays a role in ensuring students travel to and from school safely. Together, we can prevent injuries and save lives.”
School buses use yellow flashing lights to alert motorists that they are preparing to stop to load or unload children. Red flashing lights and an extended stop sign arm indicate the bus is stopped and students are getting on or off the bus.
All states require traffic in both directions to stop on undivided roadways when students are entering or exiting a school bus. While state laws vary on what is required on a divided roadway, in all cases, traffic traveling behind the school bus must stop and wait until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop sign is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving.
Each year the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) sponsors National School Bus Safety Week and a student poster contest as a way to bring national and local attention to school bus safety. #StopOnRed! is the theme for 2017.
First Student is also promoting stop arm safety with the nationwide Safety Dog Bus Tour. The eight-city Tour wraps up during National School Bus Safety Week with a stop in Springfield, Illinois on October 17. Visit safetydogbustour.com for more information and helpful safety tip sheets.
About First Student, Inc.
As the leading school transportation solutions provider in North America, First Student strives to provide the best start and finish to every school day. First Student completes five million student journeys each day, moving more passengers than all U.S. airlines combined. With a team of highly-trained drivers and the industry’s strongest safety record, First Student delivers reliable, quality services including full-service transportation and management, special-needs transportation, route optimization and scheduling, maintenance, and charter services for 1,100 school district contracts. For more information, please visit firststudentinc.com.