As the first school bell rings, Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) officials are urging motorists to be ready to stop for school buses and be watchful for children exiting school buses and crossing streets.
Last year in Minnesota, there were 615 bus crashes that resulted in one death (no children) and 214 injuries (of which 75 were student bus occupants). In the last five years, crashes involving school buses resulted in 21 traffic deaths of which four were school bus student occupants and three were children who were outside a bus and hit by other vehicles.
In Minnesota, school buses make at least 10,000 school bus trips daily. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, children are eight times safer riding in a bus to school than any other vehicle.
"Kids are very safe in school buses, and to keep them safe, motorists need be paying attention and take extreme caution for children exiting buses," says Lt. Brian Reu of the Minnesota State Patrol.
DPS reminds motorists to anticipate children, especially in a school bus "danger zone" — the area around a bus where children are at greatest risk. Parents should also discuss and demonstrate pedestrian safety with their children and reinforce safe crossing after exiting a bus.
In Minnesota, motorists must stop for red flashing lights and when stop arms are extended — both when driving behind a bus and when coming toward a bus on undivided roads.
Bus Safety Tips for Children:
Pedestrians Safety Tips:
Motorist Safety Tips:
About the Office of Traffic SafetyThe Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) designs, implements, and coordinates federally funded traffic safety enforcement and education programs to improve driver behaviors and reduce the deaths and serious injuries that occur on Minnesota roads. OTS also administers state funds for motorcycle safety programs and child seats for needy families.
OTS is an anchoring partner of the state's Toward Zero Deaths traffic safety initiative. A primary vision of the TZD program is to create a safe driving culture in Minnesota in which motorists support a goal of zero road fatalities by practicing and promoting safe and smart driving behavior. TZD focuses on the application of four strategic areas to reduce crashes — education, enforcement, engineering and emergency trauma response.
"Office of Communications." News Releases. Department of Public Safety, 3 Sept. 2012. Web. 11 Sept. 2012. dps.mn.gov/divisions/ooc/news-releases/Pages/Buses-Pedestrians-Serve-as-Back-to-School-Safety-Test-for-Motorists.aspx.
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