It’s that time of year again to think about school bus safety

In a short time, school zones will be in effect and in increase in traffic around schools and neighborhoods will be heavier.

  • Aug. 31, 2016 12:00 p.m.

School bus driver

Barbara Latkowski

Caledonia Courier

In a short time, school zones will be in effect and in increase in traffic around schools and neighborhoods will be heavier.

Often, there is still much confusion regarding motorist’s responsibilities when approaching school buses.

Joy Reierson from Fort St. James has been driving a school bus or 10 years and has seen this confusion time and time again.

“Driver distraction is huge. Red really does mean stop. It’s important to look at those lights and signs,” Reierson said.

“We need to work as a team and as a community for the safety of our kids.”

Reierson, who loves her job, is excited for another year to begin.

“It’s never boring. There’s always something new happening. And I love the kids. But it’s all about keeping them safe.”

For Reierson, it’s all about the senses.

“Stop, look and listen.”

Here are some helpful safety tips that the RCMP has to offer for motorists:

–          Slow down

–          Be especially careful when driving on neighborhood streets and around school zones, always expect the unexpected.

–          Every school day, unless otherwise posted, a 30km/h speed limit is in effect in school zones from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

–          Be alert for youngsters walking to and from school as you back on bicycles, especially at intersections and driveways. Young bicyclists have a tendency to dart out of driveways without looking for traffic.

–          If you decide to meet your child at a bus stop after school, wait on the side where the child will be dropped off, not across the street. Children can get excited to see you and might forget safety rules when crossing the street.

According Safe Kids Canada, pedestrian injury is the third leading cause of injury related death to Canadian children.

Here are some pedestrian safety tips:

–          Teach your child the rules of the road and start young. Make it fun. Play act with toy cars; set up obstacles in the park.

–          Be a good role model. Follow the same rules that you want your child to follow. Use the crosswalks.

–          Teach your children to stop at driveways, alleys and areas without curbs and to never run onto the street.

–          If there are no sidewalks, teach them to walk facing traffic.

–          Wear reflective clothing at dusk or a night.

For kids taking a school bus for the first time, this could be a very exciting adventure but they must still be made aware of how to keep safe.

Some helpful tips from Safe Kids Canada:

–          Look both ways before crossing the street.

–          Line up at the bus stop and get on single file.

–          If you have to cross the road to get on the bus, use the nearest crosswalk or the nearest corner.

–          When the school bus is coming, take five steps back from the road.

–          Don’t get up from your seat until the bus has come to a complete stop.

–          When you get off the bus, stay away from the three danger zones; the front, the side and the back of the bus.

–          Don’t run across the street or in between parked cars.

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