For many of us, Labor Day marks the end of summer and the beginning of a new school year. This means that neighborhood corners and cul-de-sacs will bustle with energetic and occasionally inattentive young children. Thus, it is important that drivers recognize this busy time and exercise prudence when traveling near bus stops, school zones and school buses. Here are some tips to ensure that our kids will arrive and depart safely from school each day:
- Allow plenty of travel time.
Parents who need to get to work on time can face tremendous stress when attempting to usher their children to the bus stop or school. Sometimes, this rush can lead to lack of attention while driving, causing some parents to speed through their communities and endanger other children. To avoid this danger, parents should collect what’s needed for the next morning and have it ready to go, to ensure that they are not pressed for time.
- Know where the kids are.
Familiarizing yourself with neighborhood bus stops and cross-walks will make you more aware of areas where children typically congregate. Motorists driving through these areas should use extra caution and be alert for children darting between cars on foot, or on a bicycle, skateboard, scooter, or similar toy.
- Slow Down!
Not all communities have posted speed limits, but according to the Virginia Department of Transportation, the maximum speed limit in residential areas is 25 miles per hour. Some communities may dictate an even slower speed, so be aware. http://www.virginiadot.org/info/faq-speedlimits.asp
- Teach the children.
Educate your children to be mindful of motorists and buses while they stand at the bus stop. Talk to them about looking both ways before crossing the street. Discuss the importance of waiting in a safe place away from the road, as well as maintaining visibility with oncoming drivers. When departing from the bus, make sure your children stay visible and do not walk behind the bus.
- No distractions!
Avoid eating, using your cell phone, texting and applying make-up while around school zones. This common-sense advice applies whenever a driver is behind the wheel, and is especially important when driving around young children whose actions can be unpredictable.
When yellow school buses are on the roads, drivers should be cautious, slow down and be aware of the children. Be patient and alert when driving near students and bus stops, and you will be doing your part to keep our communities safe.
About The Author: Chris Jones is an attorney with Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen. He works out of the Richmond, VA office and has dedicated his practice to plaintiff’s personal injury law. Prior to becoming a lawyer, Chris worked as a high school teacher. His experience as an educator enables him to explain complex legal issues to juries as well as his clients.