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A Staff Report

With the commencement of the school year, the roads are witnessing an increase in school bus activity, prompting the North Carolina Department of Transportation to underscore the importance of school bus safety. As the classrooms welcome back around 1.5 million students statewide, ensuring their safety during transit is of utmost concern.

This week, state leaders convened in Raleigh to reinforce the crucial role that citizens play in safeguarding children on their way to school. The message was clear: maintain vigilance by refraining from phone usage, staying attentive, and exercising patience.

Here are some important safety tips for school bus safety:

1. Arrive Early: Arrive at the bus stop a few minutes before the scheduled arrival time to ensure you don’t miss the bus.

2. Stand Back: While waiting for the bus, stand at least 6 feet away from the curb to give the bus driver enough space to see you and make a safe stop.

3. Line Up Safely: When boarding the bus, form a line and wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before approaching the door.

4. Wait for Signal: Wait for the bus driver’s signal before crossing the road after getting off the bus. Make sure you can see the driver and they can see you.

5. Watch for Traffic: Before crossing the street, look left, right, and left again to make sure there is no traffic coming. Wait for the driver to signal that it’s safe to cross.

6. Stay Seated: Once on the bus, find a seat quickly and remain seated for the entire ride. Keep the aisle clear to avoid tripping hazards.

7. Use Seatbelts (if available): If the bus is equipped with seatbelts, make sure to buckle up for added safety.

8. Be Respectful: Follow the bus driver’s instructions and be respectful to fellow passengers. Keep noise levels down to avoid distracting the driver.

9. Keep Belongings in Check: Keep backpacks and other belongings out of the aisle to prevent tripping hazards.

10. No Bullying: Treat others with kindness and respect. Bullying or any form of teasing is not acceptable.

11. Emergency Exit Awareness: Know where the emergency exits are located on the bus and how to use them in case of an emergency.

12. Wait for Bus to Leave: After getting off the bus, move away from the vehicle and wait for it to leave before crossing the street.

13. Never Walk Behind the Bus: Never walk behind the bus, especially in the “danger zone” – the area around the bus where the driver may have limited visibility.

14. Alert Driver to Forgotten Items: If you forget something on the bus, never go back to retrieve it without the driver’s knowledge. The driver might not see you and could start moving the bus.

15. Follow School Rules: Follow your school’s specific guidelines for bus safety and behavior.

Remember, school bus safety is a shared responsibility among students, parents, and drivers. By following these tips, we can help ensure a safe and secure journey for all students.

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