Ensure their safety

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 23, 2005

News-Herald Editorial

It’s no wonder school buses are painted yellow as that color represents caution.

We all need to be reminded of that fact as schools throughout the Roanoke-Chowan area as well as statewide either opened last week or will see their students return to the classroom this week.

Yellow school buses will return to local and state highways, meaning the motoring public needs to play it smart.

Please exercise extreme caution while sharing the road with school buses, especially keeping a close eye on children as they enter and exit a bus.

Please do not ever assume they will think to do the right thing. After all, they are just children. The only thing on their minds this time of year is the thrill of renewing old friendships and meeting new acquaintances at the start of the 2005-06 academic year.

The best advice for motorists following or meeting a school bus is to keep alert at all times. Sure, school buses travel slower than the posted speed, so please exercise caution when attempting to legally pass a school bus. Do not put yourself in jeopardy with poor judgment by passing a bus in a no-passing zone. Not only does that threaten your life and the lives of your passengers, but it also places innocent children in harm’s way.

Also, be sure to obey all North Carolina laws governing a stopped school bus. Section 20-217 of North Carolina law reads as follows:

The driver of any vehicle upon approaching from any direction on the same street or highway any school bus while the bus is displaying its mechanical stop signal or flashing red stoplights, and is stopped for the purpose of receiving or discharging passengers, shall bring their vehicle to a full stop before passing or attempting to pass the bus, and shall remained stopped until the mechanical stop signal has been turned withdrawn, the flashing red stoplights have been turned off, and the bus has moved on.

Additionally, the start of school signals an increase in pedestrian traffic as children walk to and from school. Parents or guardians of these walk-to-school students can help safeguard their children by teaching them the basics of traffic safety and accompanying them until you are confident that they can negotiate the route safely alone.

Remember that your actions as a pedestrian, cyclist, or driver speak louder than any formal instruction in traffic safety ever can.

In the meantime, motorists are warned to keep a close eye on children using their legs and feet as a mode of travel to and from school. Watch out for these children, especially in the mornings and mid afternoons in and around schools and residential areas.

Also be reminded that the posted speed limits change in school zones during certain hours of the school day. Please slow down in these school zones.

By using preventive measures, together we can ensure the safety of our area’s children as they travel to and from school.