County Police Offer Bus Safety for the Start of the School Year

As a new school year begins, the New Castle County Division of Police would like to remind the community to be alert and aware of school bus stops in your area.
Twenty-five million students begin and end their day on a school bus. Students are 70 times more likely to get to school safely when taking a school bus instead of traveling by car, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). However, the greatest risk to students is approaching or leaving a school bus.


Here are a few bus safety tips for parents, students and drivers traveling through our communities or neighborhoods.


Parents
• Supervise young children.
• Show students where to stand when waiting for the bus.
• Sign up for WherestheBus app if available in your school district or other district initiatives to learn about bus delays or arrivals.


Students
• Should arrive at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive.
• Stand three (3) giant steps away (6 feet) from the curb while waiting for the bus.
• Cross in front of the bus, at least 10 feet or five giant steps and always make eye contact with the driver before crossing.
• Never walk behind the bus and if you drop something near the bus, tell the driver and do not pick it up.


Bus Behavior
• Stay in your seat and keep head, arms and other objects inside the bus.
• Keep aisles clear and place bookbag on the seat or on the floor in front of you.
• If seatbelts are available, buckle up.
Getting on/off the bus
• Wait until the bus has stopped and the door opens before approaching the bus or standing up on the bus.
• Use the handrail to avoid trips and falls.


Drivers
• When backing out of a driveway or leaving a garage, watch for children walking or biking to school.
• When driving through our many neighborhoods and school zones, watch out for students who may dart across your path, especially if they are arriving late to their stop or school.
• Follow the directions of the crossing guards, they are there to keep students safe.
• Slow down and watch for children walking on the street, especially if there are no sidewalks.
• Watch for students playing or assembling near bus stops.
• BE ALERT.
• Please watch students crossing the roads and parking lots to and from the bus or private vehicles.
• Never pass a school bus with red flashing lights and extended stop arms.


As a reminder, drivers traveling in either direction on a two-lane road must stop when a school bus activates its flashing red lights and stop sign or arm. Drivers traveling in the same direction as a school bus on a four-lane, divided road must stop for a stopped school bus. Drivers travelling in the opposite direction of a four-lane divided road are not required to stop.
Delaware law requires vehicles to stop even when the bus is stopped to load/unload students on private property. Anyone convicted of passing a stopped school bus for the first offense can be fined not less than $115 nor more than $230 dollars or imprisoned not less than 30 days nor more than 60 days or both. For each additional offense occurring within three (3) years, the driver can be fined not less than $115 nor more than $575, and imprisoned not less than 60 days nor more than 6 months. The individual will also have their license suspended for between 1 and 12 months.

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