Ed Day, Rockland County Executive

September 1, 2015
Contact: Scott Salotto (845) 638-5645
               Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, DO, FAAFP (845) 364-2512


NEW CITY, NY - - It's back-to-school time again: a good time to remind residents about bus safety, especially those children taking the school bus for the first time. Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert warn residents that though school buses are the safest type of motorized transportation for getting children to and from school, injuries can happen if children are not careful and aware when getting on and off the bus.

Teach children these school bus safety tips from Safe Kids Worldwide and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

Safety starts at the bus stop.
Walk with your kids to the bus stop and wait with them until it arrives. You should arrive at the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive. Show your child where to wait for the bus: at least three giant steps (six feet) away from the curb. Remind your child that the bus stop is not a place to run or play.

Get on and off safely.
When the school bus arrives, your child should wait until the bus comes to a complete stop, the door opens, and the driver says that it's okay before approaching the bus door. Your child should use the handrails to avoid falling. Children should board the bus one at a time, and be careful of straps or drawstrings that could get caught in the door.

Use caution around the bus.
Your child should never walk behind the school bus. If your child must cross the street in front of the bus, tell your child to walk on a sidewalk or along the side of the street, to a place at least five giant steps (10 feet) in front of the bus before crossing. Your child should make eye contact with the bus driver before crossing, to make sure the driver can see your child and cross when the driver indicates it's safe. Teach kids to look left, right and left again before crossing the street. If your child ever drops something, like a ball or book, near the school bus, the safest thing is for your child to tell the bus driver right away. Your child should not try to pick the item up because the driver might not be able to see your child.

When drivers see the yellow warning lights, slow down and be prepared to stop. When a stopped school bus flashes its red light(s), traffic that approaches from either direction, even in front of the school and in school parking lots, must stop before it reaches the bus. You should stop at least 20 feet away from the bus. When you stop for a school bus, you can not drive again until the red lights stop flashing or when the bus driver or a traffic officer signals the you can proceed. This law applies on all roadways in New York State. You must stop for a school bus even if it is on the opposite side of a divided highway. "In addition, after you stop for a school bus, look for children along the side of the road. Drive slowly until you have passed them," said Dr. Ruppert.

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