no avatar

SHACKLES: School is back and 'big yellow' is on the roads

• Sep 8, 2017 at 3:00 PM

Grand Haven Area Public School buses travel more than 775,000 miles annually, transporting well over 3,200 students to and from school.

In addition to providing safe transportation to and from school, school bus drivers are also an important part of each student’s school day. They are the first and last “face of the school” many students see each day. Our drivers take responsibility for creating a positive atmosphere so that the students begin and end their day on a positive note.

Teachers have students for one year, but a bus driver may have a student or students for several years, building lasting relationships. We truly take pride in our caring culture that matches our classrooms.

And remember: School buses are like traffic signals. When overhead lights are flashing yellow, prepare to stop. Yellow lights indicate the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children. Motorists should slow down and prepare to stop their vehicles.

When overhead lights are flashing red: stop! Red lights indicate the bus has stopped and children are getting on or off. Motorists must stop their cars and wait until the red lights stop flashing, and the bus begins to move before your vehicle should start to move.

When hazard lights are flashing low, go slow and proceed with caution. Hazard lights indicate that motorists can proceed around the bus with caution.

Here are five important safety tips for drivers when in the vicinity of a school bus:

— Prepare to stop when a slowing bus has the overhead yellow lights flashing.

— Stop at least 20 feet away from buses when overhead red lights are flashing.

— Slow down in or near school and residential areas.

— Watch for children between parked cars and other objects.

— Buses are required to stop at designated railroad crossings. Stay a safe distance behind. 

School buses are the safest mode of transportation for getting children back and forth to school. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, children are protected in school buses by compartmentalization, a passive occupant protection system. This provides a protective envelope consisting of strong, closely spaced seats that have energy-absorbing padded seat backs that help to distribute and reduce crash forces. Riding in a school bus is safer than being driven to school in private vehicles, walking or riding a bicycle. 

School bus safety is important to us all. Thank you to all motorists for exercising safe driving habits around school buses and in school zones. Let’s make it a great and safe 2017-18 school year!

— By Becki Shackles, director of transportation for Grand Haven Area Public Schools

Recommended for You

    Grand Haven Tribune Videos