School buses will be all around the county; parents will be dropping off and picking up kids at schools; and students will be walking to bus stops. Children are often eager and excited during these first few days of school to get to their new classes or to their parents to tell them about their day. More parents drop off students during these first days so traffic around the schools in the mornings and afternoons is more congested than usual.
Anson County Sheriff Tommy Allen urges drivers to be a little more patient and take extreme caution in traffic involving school buses and school zones. Watch out for children who may run across roads hurrying to class or to their rides. Be alert to the congestion around the schools as buses and vehicles enter and exit drop off areas.
"We have a very good safety record with school buses and students in our county, but we have to maintain a watchful eye always, especially during the first couple of weeks of school as bus drivers and students and parents get accustomed to the new routines," Sheriff Allen said. "Let's make this another safe and successful school year."
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an average of 19 school-age children die (nationwide) in school transportation-related traffic accidents each year and more school-aged pedestrians have been killed between the hours of 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. than any other time of the day. Here are some safety tips for students and motorists:
• Always arrive at the bus stop at least five minutes early.
• While the bus is approaching make sure to stand at least three giant steps away from the curb or edge of the roadway; wait until the bus has come to a complete stop, the doors open and the bus driver says it is OK to board.
• Always walk on the sidewalk when preparing to cross the street near a bus. Make eye contact with the driver so that you are sure he or she sees you.
• Never walk behind a bus.
• If you are walking beside the bus, walk at least three giant steps away.
• Never stop to pick something up that you have dropped when a bus is stopped. Tell the driver or wait until the bus has driven off to avoid not being seen by the driver.
• Remember that children are unpredictable in their actions. Take extreme caution when traveling in a school zone.
• If there are no sidewalks, drive cautiously. Be more alert to the possibility of children walking in the roadway.
• Never pass a school bus when there are flashing red lights and the stop arm is extended. Motorists must wait until the red lights stop and the stop arm is withdrawn and the bus is moving before they can start driving again.
• Always slow down and be ready to stop whenever you enter a school zone or see a school bus.
• Learn and obey the school bus laws in North Carolina.
You will find more tips on school safety by visiting the sheriff's Web page at ansonsheriff.com.