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Press ReleaseMonday, August 19, 2013
DOE Press Office
Motorists Urged to Follow School Bus Safety Laws~ Survey results show high number of drivers illegally passing stopped school buses ~
Tallahassee, Fla., August 19, 2013 - With the 2013-14 school year underway, the Florida Department of Education reminds motorists throughout the state to practice safe driving around children and near school zones, and to be extra aware around school buses. The results of the 2013 National Stop Arm Violation Count show that more than 85,000 vehicles nationwide illegally passed stopped school buses on a single day.
Florida was among 29 states participating in the survey conducted by school bus drivers recording how many times motorists passed their buses while displaying the flashing red lights and stop arms. In Florida, bus drivers observed nearly 12,000 illegal passes while loading or unloading students.
"School buses are one of the safest ways to transport students," said Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart. "Florida motorists can do their part to keep students safe by being aware of children and obeying traffic laws. The survey results are an important reminder for drivers to use caution in and around school zones."
Special construction, passenger seating and crash protection keep children safe while on the school bus. Federal regulations require that each school bus undergo a stringent inspection of all mechanical and safety systems at least every 30 school days. Additionally, school bus drivers must meet rigorous training and qualifications before they can transport students.
See below for safety tips to help keep children safe between home and school. The attached poster highlights the "Rules of the Road."
School Safety Tips
- Be alert and watch for children at all times, especially near schools, bus stops, school buses and in school parking lots.
- Obey traffic laws and speed limits.
- Do not text or use a cell phone while driving.
- STOP when a school bus displays stop arms and red lights are flashing.
- Watch for and obey signals from the school crossing guards.
- Observe lower speed limits in school zones and at crosswalks.
For parents and students
- Discuss safe behavior while at school, the bus stop and when entering or exiting the school bus.
- Wait for the bus to make a complete stop and for the driver to signal that it is safe to cross the road or board the bus.
- If you drop something, tell the bus driver. Do not try to pick it up first as the driver may not be able to see you.
- Do not walk behind the school bus or run after the bus.