The Kane County Regional Office of Education is urging motorists to be aware that school is back in session, and that accidents involving students do not typically occur while the child is seated on the bus.
“State law is clear that drivers must take caution and stop when buses are paused to pick up and drop off children. The majority of accidents involving children on public transportation happen not while students are on the school bus, but when they are outside it,” explained Patricia Dal Santo, regional superintendent of Kane County ROE and president of the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools.
Dal Santo noted that elementary school buses need special attention, as younger students become easily distracted and may start walking across the street without warning. Because they are smaller, motorists also need to be aware that they may be blocked from view by the bus.
“Most of the children killed in bus-related accidents are between 5 and 7 years old, who are entering or exiting the bus,” she said.
In response to the dangers that face some of the smallest commuters, Dal Santo and the Kane County ROE have composed a public service announcement that will alert motorists that patience is essential in the morning and afternoon ride to work or school.
“This is just one way we can try to help send a strong message to everyone that as school starts, you must drive carefully around schools and school buses. It only takes a second for a tragic accident to happen. Please slow down, stop when the red lights are flashing and let’s make this the year when no one is injured because of carelessness around school buses.”
Regional offices of education in Illinois are responsible for conducting the initial training that is required for all new school bus drivers prior to getting a bus permit, and the annual refresher workshop that is required in the 12-month period prior to renewing a school bus permit, as prescribed by the Illinois State Board of Education.
- This post was compiled by Ellen Kamps of the Kane County Regional Office of Education. For more information, visit the Kane County ROE website.