With the new school year in full swing, it’s hard to miss the big yellow buses shuttling full loads of children all around the city.
With that in mind, it’s also easy to forget the rules and regulations as well as safety precautions that go along with this service.
Recently, the Professional Educators of Tennessee released a statement reminding motorists about school safety.
“We want to remind Tennessee drivers to remember that school buses are back on the roads, and children will once again be in our crosswalks,” the statement said.
The statement also said to remember that children might not always stay on the sidewalk or inside crosswalk lines, so motorists should be extra cautious.
PET urged motorists use extra caution, especially at the busiest traffic hours in the morning, to avoid wrecks or hitting pedestrians.
“Motorists must use extra caution when school children and school buses are in the area and be prepared to stop for the school bus. Remember to drive safely in school zones and obey the school zone speed limits. Pay particular attention for children loading and unloading children. Never pass a stopped school bus.”
Pat Hughes, Director of Transportation for Lebanon Schools, said they have had problems with motorists not stopping for buses since school started.
“We’ve had a lot of issues with school bus stop signs this year,” Hughes said. “We have a lot of areas that are really hectic, but there’s problems everywhere and it’s every single day.”
Hughes said motorists have been failing to stop from all sides, whether in front or behind the buses.
“There’s also places like Highway 70, where there’s five lanes of traffic and cars just storm through there,” Hughes said. “There are kids there. People need to be aware there are children that have to cross the streets.”
Hughes also said that, if caught, the penalty for failing to stop is a $500 fine.
“Sometimes officers will catch them and sometimes our bus drivers will even write down tag numbers,” Hughes said. “We had a driver follow someone to run them down to get a number because the car drove around a child on the right side and went in a ditch to pass them.”
Hughes said her main concern was keeping the kids safe and relaying the law to those who may not know.
“If a school bus is stopped, everyone has to stop. Whether it’s four lane or two lanes, whatever, everyone must stop.”