It seems hard to believe that another summer has come and gone and it's time to start getting the kids ready to go back to school. On August 24th Levy County will begin that timeless annual ritual: The first day of school. It is a time when parents breathe a sigh of relief and students and teachers anticipate new beginnings and new challenges.
Unfortunately, the beginning of school is also a time when children are at increased risk of transportation-related injuries from pedestrian, bicycle, school bus and motor vehicle crashes. This happens because there are more children on the road each morning and afternoon which may cause driving patterns to change. So as schools open their doors, it's time for everyone—motorists, parents, educators and students—to improve their traffic safety practices.
The familiar yellow school bus has become one of the most powerful icons in American society. Day-in and day-out, the nation's 418,000 yellow buses travel more than 4.5 billion miles a year at a cost of nearly $10 billion. They safely carry 24 million children-nearly half of all the nation's children-to and from school.
While school buses can be proud of their safety record, there are still aspects of school bus transportation that are dangerous to children. More children are hurt outside a bus than inside one. Getting on and off the bus is the most dangerous part of the bus ride. This loading and unloading area is called the "danger zone." This area extends 10 feet in front of the bus, 10 feet on each side of the bus and 10 feet behind the bus. The danger zone is where children are at greatest risk of not being seen by the bus driver. The child who bends over to retrieve a dropped school book, or who walks too close to the bus while crossing the street, is at greatest risk of becoming the next statistic in this danger zone.
Parents and other adults must also do their part. For instance, most motorist need to learn to share the road with school buses. They must stop when the bus stops to take on or let off passengers. If we all do our part—if motorists heed school bus warning lights, bus drivers drive defensively, parents help their children learn to ride safely and children learn to avoid the bus's danger zone---we can increase the safety of the yellow bus ride to and from school.
Safety precaution education is the best way to keep your child safe this school year. Get involved and get your children involved. The more you know the safer your children are.
Please be careful during your travels and the Sheriff's Office will be monitoring the school zones and school bus stops for traffic violations.