As a school administrator, I have numerous fears related to disasters in schools. One that replays itself in my mind on a daily basis is related to transportation issues near our schools and kids. There are significant risks connected to transportation and our schools. By increasing our awareness, each of us can considerably reduce the danger.
A study last spring that included USD 113 bus drivers was conducted by the Kansas State Department of Education through a request from the Kansas State Patrol. Buses are very safe methods of transportation, but the survey was about how many legal violations occurred by other drivers when buses had their Stop Arm Signal and flashing red lights engaged. The results of the survey were surprising, and not in a good way. Numerous violations across the state were identified.
As a result of this study, the Kansas State Department of Education started a “Stop on Red, Kids Ahead” campaign. KSDE provided the following information for motorists to be in compliance with Kansas law:
When a school bus stops and activates its stop arm and flashing red lights, all traffic must stop from both directions – despite if it is a two- or four-lane roadway. When a school bus stops and activates its stop arm and flashing red lights on a divided highway with a median separation, traffic approaching the bus from behind must stop.
For the safety of our children, please pay attention and heed the stop arm warning. In addition to this safety warning, it is important for drivers to give buses the right of way. USD 113 bus drivers have reported that student drivers often try to “beat the bus” as they drive out of parking areas and a bus is driving in front of them. Please talk with young drivers about potential consequences when operating a motor vehicle near buses.
All campuses in USD 113 are near roads that receive heavy traffic. Much of this is school related, but some traffic is through-traffic. Individuals who are able to take a route away from schools are encouraged to do so.
Parking lots are a potential danger at every USD 113 attendance center. High profile vehicles, narrow drive lanes, and distracted drivers, as well as pedestrians, are a dangerous mix. Please follow the established rules, increase your awareness and decrease your speed in parking lots.
Transportation in general requires safety measures. When buses and school zones are involved, it becomes even more critical to increase our awareness and use common sense approaches to keep everyone safe.