08/17/11 Drivers throughout northern Indiana are seeing the familiar yellow school buses on the roads as children return to school. The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) is reminding drivers to take extra precautions to avoid accidents involving school children.
Speed limits are significantly lower in school zones as children are walking to and from school, and school buses are exiting and entering the roadway. Signs will alert drivers that they’re entering a school zone. Some school zones are also marked by flashing yellow lights when the reduced speed limits are in effect.
About 756,000 children are expected to ride Hoosier school buses this year. Many children board school buses in the pre-dawn hours and it can be difficult for drivers to see them in the dark. On average, 26 children are killed every year while getting on or off a school bus or while waiting at the bus stop.
Here are some simple reminders for drivers:
- Slow down and be especially alert in the residential neighborhoods and school zones.
- Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs.
- Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.
- Watch for children on and near the road in the morning and after school hours.
- Reduce any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings. Put down your phone and don’t talk or text while driving.
Reminder for your kids when walking to school:
- They should cross the street with an adult until they are at least 10 years old.
- Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.
- Never run out into the streets or cross in between parked cars.
- Make sure they always walk in front of the bus where the driver can see them.
Safety for kids when riding the bus:
- Get to the bus stop at least five minutes early.
- When the bus approaches, have children stand at least three giant steps away from the curb.
- If a bus stop is located on a busy road or intersection, an adult should be present to supervise children waiting for the bus.
- Make sure children understand to always stay seated while the bus is in motion, and to follow any directions from the bus driver.
- If a child drops something near the bus, instruct them to tell the bus driver, rather than trying to pick it up themselves.