"State troopers and local officers statewide will be watchful for any traffic violations in
the areas of school zones, bus stops and stopped school buses," said Public Safety Director Col. J. Christopher Murphy. "In every state, it is illegal to pass a school bus that has stopped to load or unload students. Motorists need to be observant of all the traffic laws that serve to protect our children's safety."
Kids are heading back to school and they're also heading towards increased risks of child injury in Montgomery. Every year, roughly 25 million students across the country jump on board the big, yellow buses to get to and from school, according to the National Safety Council. There are also many children injured and several killed in school bus accident every year. In 2005 alone, there were more than 130 people killed because of school bus-related traffic accidents. Another 11,000 were injured in these incidents.
Our Montgomery personal injury attorneys would like to ask that all motorists practice extra cautious driving habits as the school year begins -- school buses and young bicyclists and pedestrians will be commonplace. We ask for caution not only to avoid a motor-vehicle collision, but to avoid hitting a child entering, exiting or waiting for the bus. Of everyone that was injured in a school bus accident from 2000 to 2004, nearly 50 percent of injuries were sustained by school bus passengers, nearly 10 percent were by bus drivers and approximately 40 percent were occupants of other vehicles. The rest of the injuries were sustained by pedestrians, bicyclists and others.
The Alabama Department of Public Safety offers these safe driving tips for motorists to help keep our young bus riders safe:
-Keep an eye out for children when backing out of your driveway or when exiting your garage.
-Watch out for students who are walking or biking to the bus stop and to school.
-When driving through neighborhoods and through school zones, be sure to watch out for children as they may be more focused on getting to school instead of getting there safely.
-Keep an eye out for children who may be walking where there are no sidewalks.
-Watch for children who are gathering or playing near their bus stop.
-Be ready to stop at all times. Children may dart out into the street without checking for traffic first.
-Always stop when you are directed to do so by a school patrol sign, designated crossing guard or school patrol officer.
Laws in all 50 states make it illegal to drive pass a bus that is stopped and loading or unloading children.
It's important to talk to your little student about proper bus behavior. Talk to them about the importance of keeping quiet on the bus, keeping the bus aisles clear and never walking within 10 feet of the bus except when boarding.