Here’s a refresher on school bus safety before students head back to class

The school bus cameras are activated when the stop-arm is deployed. The cameras can record images from the front and back of the vehicle passing. (Southside Daily Photo/courtesy of David Tace)
The school bus cameras are activated when the stop-arm is deployed. The cameras can record images from the front and back of the vehicle passing. (Southside Daily Photo/courtesy of David Pace)

VIRGINIA BEACH — Students all over the city will start boarding their school buses again on Sept. 3, so here’s a quick refresher on how to keep everyone safe.

In the 2018-2109 school year there were a total of 40 school bus related crashes, 67 tickets issued for failing to stop for a school bus and 816 tickets issued for speeding in a school zone in the city, according to data from the Virginia Beach Police Department.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wants to make sure that everyone is making it to school safely, citing students are about 70 times more likely to get to school safely when taking a school bus instead of traveling by car.

While school buses are the most regulated vehicles on the road, they are relying on drivers to obey traffic laws surrounding school buses to keep things safe, according to the NHTSA.

It’s illegal for drivers to pass a school bus while dropping off or picking up passengers, regardless of the direction of approach, according to the NHTSA.

When the red lights are flashing and the stop arm is out, drivers need to hit the brakes.

Student safety

Students also need to do their part to keep things safe when getting a ride to or from school on the bus.

The NHTSA recommends children should arrive at the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive.

They then should wait until the bus comes to a complete stop and the door opens before getting on or off.

Children should never walk behind a school bus but instead cross in front of the bus while making sure they have made eye contact with the bus driver so they know they are seen, according to the NHTSA.

Penalties

Police will maintain their patrol schedule throughout the school year and if they see a motorist violating the law, they will pull them over, authorities said.

In addition to patrolling, the school buses themselves have a way of catching law-breakers.

Cameras have been installed on the sides of the city’s school buses to catch cars trying to go around the bus while the stop arm is out and the lights are flashing.

To learn more about the cameras, click here.

To learn more about bus schedules and transportation for the city’s school division, click here.

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