While bus drivers have been trained to keep students safe and even have a number of alarm systems to make sure no student is left on the bus at the end of the day, one of the biggest dangers during the trip to school is often out of the driver’s control.
It’s all of the other drivers on the road.
One Warwick bus driver recently told the Beacon that at least four cars drive right past her stopped bus each day, completely ignoring the flashing red stop sign in front of their face. Many of these drivers pass a bus stopped to pick up and drop off kids on both sides of major four-lane roads such as Warwick Avenue and Post Road. The driver also revealed that the biggest offenders are actually parents who chose to drive past the stopped buses in front of the school when picking up and dropping off their own kids.
While everyone is incredibly concerned with schools keeping students safe with increased safety measures and bus providers requiring their drivers to be trained in keeping their student passengers safe, why does it appear that drivers and parents are forgetting the simplest rule for safe driving…stop at a stop sign.
There is also that rule about driving the speed limit, which in a school zone is 20 mph. The Warwick Police will stop drivers speeding in a school zone and are often questioned as to why they are receiving a ticket for going 30 mph.
While many may say, “I am on the opposite side of the road, why do I need to stop?” or “But 20 mph is so slow and there are no kids around,” let’s all remember these laws are in place to protect the children of Warwick.
The fact of the matter is a stop sign is put on the side of a bus for a reason. Children need to cross the street to get to their homes; stop signs and flashing lights help the bus monitors and drivers make that walk just a little safer.
At the end of the day, especially at a high school, students rush out of the doors and run to their cars or to practice, oftentimes darting between large school buses stopped out front. There is no way for drivers to predict when and if a kid is going to come out from between two buses into the driveway of a school.
With school starting tomorrow, it is time to remember that safety is not just the responsibility of school administrators or bus drivers; it is the responsibility of everyone who can play a part in the school day, including drivers on the road.
Even if stopping for every stopped bus with flashing lights and stop sign is slightly annoying, it is the law.