That's so students can get and off the school bus safely.
The first day of school is fast approaching, and motorists as well as children need to get ready.
While kids are busy with their parents purchasing school supplies, new clothes and other items for back to school, the Maryland State Police reminds drivers to be mindful of school buses which will be on the streets over the next several months. "When you see a school bus in the area, think that there will be children around. So slow down and watch your speed," says Sergeant Marc Black with MSP.
The school year starts in Frederick and Carroll Counties on Monday, August 27th. Kids in Washington County, Md., Jefferson County, WV, and the Gettysburg , Pa. Area School District on Wednesday, August. 22nd.
In addition to keeping an eye out for school buses, the State Police also say remember the rules when it comes to flashing lights on the school bus. Sergeant Black says yellow lights mean that drivers should slow down and be ready to stop. A flashing red light and the stop arm extended means the bus is taking on or letting off students and motorsists should stop. He also advises motorists not to pass school buses from the right. "If you pass on the right, the consequences could be tragic because students are loading and off loading at that point at that side," he says. "Make sure you stop at least 20-feet from the front of or behind a school bus when the lights are flashing. That give children enough space to enter and get off the bus."
If your child walks to school, or walks to the bus stop, Sergeant Black says walk the route together with your younger children prior to the opening of school. "That way the adults can point out possible hazards. And then it also gives you piece of mind that your child knows exactly where they are and exactly how to get back home."
And no matter what the situation, State Police say you should always pay attention to your driving. No distractions. "That means no cell phone calls, no texting," says Sergeant Black.
State Police say they will be joining other local law enforcement agencies in special school enhancement patrols for the first day of classes so that the children get to school and home safely.
There will be more activity near schools starting on the first day of classes compared with the summer, and motorists are urged to adjust the driving habits accordingly when traveling near schools. "A lot of kids will be running back and excited to be back in school, excited to be with friends. So we want to be sure we pay attention to them so they can have a safe and great school year," Sergeant Black says.