School is in session!
Tuscaloosa County Schools started Aug. 10. Other areas schools are also getting under way for the 2011-2012 school year. Please take some time to talk to your kids about staying safe. In this blog, our Tuscaloosa injury lawyers will talk school bus safety. In upcoming blogs, we will discuss teen driving safety and the importance of keeping your young bicyclists and pedestrians safe while traveling to and from school.
Alabama school bus accidents can be devastating — both for bus passengers and for other motorists on the road. But what is too often overlooked is the risk of Tuscaloosa pedestrian accidents around buses; nationwide a significant number of all bus fatalities involve pedestrians — often students who are boarding or deboarding.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports about 1,400 people have been killed in school bus accidents in the last decade. Thousands more have been injured.
Alabama’s School Bus Stop Law was enacted in 2006 and requires all motorists to stop for a stopped school bus that is loading or unloading passengers. Violators face a $300 fine for a first offense. Those convicted of a second or subsequent offense face the suspension of their driver’s license.
Each day, more than 7,300 school buses hit the roads in Alabama — traveling almost 500,000 miles per day!
The following safety tips can help keep your child from being involved in a Tuscaloosa school bus accident:
-Walk in an orderly fashion to the bus stop — use sidewalks whenever possible. Walk facing traffic.
-Plan to be at the bus stop at least 5 minutes before the bus arrives.
-Remain a safe distance away from the road.
-Wait for red flashing lights and the extended stop sign. Cross the street only when traffic has stopped.
-Make eye contact with drivers to be sure they see you. Wait for the bus driver to signal it’s safe to cross the street or to board the bus.
-Don’t talk to strangers at the bus stop. Never get into someone’s car.
-Watch for moving cars when exiting the bus.
-Never try to retrieve something that falls under the bus.
-Only exit the bus at your designated stop.
Safety tips for motorists:
-Watch for children when backing out of a garage or driveway.
-Remain alert for young people — particularly in residential neighborhoods during the morning and afternoon commute.
-Pay particular attention around bus stops or school crossing zones.
-Understand bus lights: Yellow lights mean a bus is preparing to stop and unload children — motorists should slow down and prepare to stop. Red lights mean the bus has stopped and by law a motorist must stop and wait for the bus to extinguish its lights and begin moving again.
Bicyclists and pedestrians are most at risk. And the risk doesn’t end in high school; car accidents in Tuscaloosa and elsewhere are the number one cause of death for teenagers. Revisit our Alabama Injury Attorneys Blog for upcoming bicycle and pedestrian safety tips and safe driving tips for teenagers as the school year begins.