Safety at school bus stops needs to be taken seriously by every parent and driver. Too often, people speed through bus stops, impatiently pass other cars or otherwise behave recklessly in their need to get where they are going just a bit faster.
Reminding ourselves about how to behave near and around school bus stops in Atlanta is always a good idea. Use the following tips from the NHTSA as a checklist to see if you are being as safe as you can be.
Safety Tips for Parents
The first step to keeping your children safe at the bus stop is education. Your little one doesn’t know the expectations for behavior at a bus stop until you teach them.
Make sure that your child knows that the bus stop is not a place to run and play. They are there to wait for the bus and nothing more. Your child should be reminded to stand back from the curb (about six feet) and that they should stand or sit still. Let your child know the consequences for misbehavior at the bus stop and follow through should they not follow the rules.
- Boarding and Exiting the Bus
Your child should never get on the bus until it is completely stopped and the doors have open. In most cases, the bus driver will either make eye contact with the child, welcome them with a greeting or give them permission to enter. When the child is coming home, they should not exit the bus until they are advised to do so by the driver or monitor. Some buses require that the monitor walks every child off the bus for increased safety.
Once your child is off the bus, they should walk approximately 10 feet in front of the bus (on the sidewalk) and wait to be told to cross. Teach your child to make eye contact with the bus driver and to wait until they are signaled to cross the street. It is the bus driver’s job to make sure no cars are approaching and will only signal your child when it is safe to cross.
Remind your little one that if they drop something in the roadway while crossing the street to tell the bus driver or continue to cross. Your child should never bend over to pick the item up, disappearing from the view of the driver. Anything dropped can be retrieved by an adult after the bus has passed.
Safety Tips for Drivers
You may never drive through a school zone. Then again, you may drive through a school zone on your commute everyday. If you frequently drive near or through school zones, there are ways to operate your vehicle safely.
- Slow Down
Never speed through a school zone. There will be signs posted that lower the speed limit, either permanently or at specific times of the day. Follow these laws and slow down.
- Watch Out
Distracted driving is a huge concern across the country. Stay aware when you are driving through residential neighborhoods, near schools and at bus stops. Keep your eyes on the road and look for children who may dart out in front of your car.
- Know Georgia’s Laws
Georgia has laws on the books regarding your expected behavior when approaching a school bus. When a school bus has its yellow lights flashing, it is indicating that it is getting ready to stop and you are to slow down.
When a bus has red lights flashing and its stop sign extended, you are expected to stop. Period. It is illegal to pass a school bus and you can be ticketed. If found guilty, you can be charged a $1,000 fine and get up to 6 points on your license for your infraction. But what do you do on roads with multiple lanes?
- Two lanes and center turn lane: All traffic coming from both directions must stop.
- Four lanes without a physical median: All traffic coming from both directions must stop.
- Four or more lanes with a physical median: Traffic traveling in the same direction as the bus must stop. Traffic on the opposite side of the median may continue to move.
Who’s At Fault?
If your child is injured at the bus stop or while riding the bus, you may think that you can sue the school for failing to protect your child. In many cases, you will find that this is nearly impossible. Schools in Georgia are protected by the sovereign immunity doctrine, protecting them from being sued.
What you and your attorney will need to look for is an insurance policy as this is an exception to the immunity doctrine. If the bus company or school district has taken out an insurance policy providing coverage for accidents in which students incur injuries, you can sue following an injury accident.
Speak with an Atlanta Bus Accident Attorney Today
If your child is injured in a school zone or on a school bus in Atlanta, reach out to our office. We will speak with you at no cost and help you determine who is at fault for the accident. We will help you decide who to sue and what type of compensation to seek.
Call our office today at 404-800-1156 to schedule your free case evaluation. You and your family should not be forced to face financial difficulty due to medical bills incurred as the result of someone’s neglect or error.