Motorists urged to be cautious around school buses, children

By Martin Couch

With school starting on Aug. 19, yellow school buses will be running throughout Saline County picking up and dropping off students.

Traffic laws state that a motorist must stop when red lights are flashing on one of these yellow buses and the Bryant Police Department will be out in full force to see that these laws are obeyed.[more]

A ticket for passing a stopped school bus might be more than any impatient motorist would bargain for. Stiff penalties will be the result of those who disobey state laws for school bus stops. Most importantly, the safety of children are at stake.

"When the red lights come on, stop," said Director of Transportation for Bryant Schools Tom Farmer. "Our bus drivers follow strict procedures to protect the children and the police will be out to assist and monitor this to make sure the kids are safe."

When a bus turns on it's yellow lights, it is required by state law for other motorists to stay back 200 to 300 feet.

"The yellow lights warn that there is a stop coming up," Farmer said. "The problem we've seen is people passing those other cars that are slowing to stop and passing the bus."

A bus driver is required to slow with the yellow lights on, look in all mirrors and keep the children seated until the bus comes to a stop.

During pickup, the bus driver is required to slow then slightly open the door and when, and only when, the driver has checked all mirrors and safely brought the bus to a stop, then he or she will open the door fully to allow students to board the bus. The bus will remain stopped until all the children are seated.

"We motorists need to be patient," Farmer said. "We can't be in a hurry. Our kids' lives are at stake here."

Bryant buses leave as early as 5:30 a.m. to go to the Lake Norrell area for pick up, but the majority of students are picked up during the morning rush between 6:50 and 7:30 a.m., throughout the school district.

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