Buses will be ready for the road

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 23, 2011

By Sarah Campbell
Rowan-Salisbury school officials say 189 buses are ready to roll Thursday for the first day of school.
Tim Beck, the district’s transportation department supervisor, said every bus has been checked extensively from “nose to end.”
Beck said his team of eight mechanics inspects the brakes, tires, steering and more of each bus every 30 days, but the summertime gives them time to check out the body of the vehicles and look for any type of aesthetic damage.
“It’s a chance for the guys to really, really pay attention to them,” he said.
The district will be receiveing between five and eight new buses from the state this school year.
Transportation Director Judy Burris said with the buses transporting more than 11,000 students, it’s important for motorists to be alert.
“It takes all of us working together to keep our students safe,” she said. “So be careful when traveling and be on the lookout for those yellow school buses.”
Burris said if drivers see yellow lights, that means they should slow down; red indicates you must stop.
“You should always wait while children are crossing the road,” she said. “When the bus begins to move, you should proceed with caution.”
It is against the law to pass a stopped school bus in North Carlina.
“The motorist must remain stopped until the stop arm has been withdrawn, the flashing red stoplights have been turned off and the bus has moved on,” Burris said.
Rowan County Sheriff Kevin Auten also urges caution when school buses are on the road.
“Children are often eager to get off the school bus because they are excited to tell their parents about all of the fun they had at school that day,” he said. “It is crucial that parents re-enforce the school bus safety rules children learn at school.”
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683. Twitter: twitter.com/posteducation
Facebook: facebook.com/Sarah.SalisburyPost
Bus safety precautions
For students
• Always arrive at the bus stop at least five minutes early.
• While the bus is approaching, make sure to stand at least three giant steps away from the curb. Wait until the bus has come to a complete stop, the door opens, and the bus driver says it’s OK to board.
• Always walk on the sidewalk when preparing to cross the street near a bus. Make eye contact with the driver so that you are sure he or she sees you.
• Never walk behind the bus.
• If you are walking beside the bus, walk at least three giant steps away.
• Use the handrail when entering and exiting the bus. Take extra precautions to make sure that clothing with drawstrings and book bags do not get caught in the hand rail or door.
• Never stop to pick something up that you have dropped when a bus is stopped.  Tell the bus driver or wait until the bus has driven off to avoid not being seen by the driver.

For motorists
• Remember that children are unpredictable in their actions. Take extreme caution when traveling in a school zone.
• If there are no sidewalks, drive cautiously.  Be more alert to the possibility of children walking in the road.
• Slow down and prepare to stop whenever you see yellow school bus lights flashing.
• Never pass a school bus when there are flashing red lights and the stop arm is extended.  This is a sign that children are getting on or off the bus. Motorists must wait until the red lights stop flashing, the stop arm is withdrawn, and the bus is moving before they can start driving again.

Source:  National Highway 
Traffic Safety Administration