Public safety officials stress bus, pedestrian awareness

The Department of Public Safety is urging motorists to become familiar with the rules of the road when it comes to buses and pedestrians. Officials stress motorists should be aware of crossing pedestrians around school buses and at all marked and unmarked crosswalks and intersections.

DPS reminds motorists to anticipate children, especially in a school bus “danger zone” — the area around a bus where most injuries and deaths occur. More children are killed outside of a school bus than as bus occupants. Officials also ask parents to discuss and demonstrate pedestrian safety with their children and reinforce safe crossing after exiting a bus.

DPS offers these safety tips for pedestrians and motorists around schools and other high-traffic areas: 

School children
• When getting off a bus, look to be sure no cars are passing on the shoulder (side of the road).
• Before crossing the street, take five “giant steps” out from the front of the bus, or until the driver’s face can be seen.
• Wait for the driver to signal that it’s safe to cross.
• Look left-right-left when coming to the edge of the bus to make sure traffic is stopped. Keep watching traffic when crossing.

Pedestrians
• Cross only at intersections or crosswalks.
• Obey all traffic signs and signals.
• Do not enter a crosswalk if a vehicle is too close or moving too fast to stop safely.
• Remember, the law requires pedestrians take responsibility for their own safety.

Motorists
• Motorists must stop at least 20 feet from a school bus that is displaying red flashing lights or stop arm when approaching from the rear and from the opposite direction on undivided roads.
• Red flashing lights on buses indicates students are either entering or exiting the bus.
• Motorists are not required to stop for a bus if the bus is on the opposite side of a separated roadway — but they should remain alert for children.
• Watch for pedestrian traffic and prepare to stop if a pedestrian is approaching the intersection.
• Stop for pedestrians in crosswalks.
• Remember, the law applies to both intersections with marked and unmarked crosswalks.

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