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Drivers: it’s time to take school bus safety seriously, schools say

Oct 22, 2019, 1:46 PM
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SLCPD reminds drivers to be safe around students and busses. (Photo: John Wojcik, KSL NewsRadio)
(Photo: John Wojcik, KSL NewsRadio)

SOUTH JORDAN, Utah — The Jordan School District urges drivers to obey the rules for school bus safety, after catching hundreds of them passing buses unsafely on a daily basis.

At a meeting Tuesday, Utah Association Of Pupil Transportation President Launi Harden shared statistics showing that children are seventy times safer riding on a school bus, compared to being driven to school. But for that statistic to come into play, the child first has to make it onto the bus.

Those driving dozens of children every day say it’s not that difficult.

School bus safety in a nutshell

Flashing yellow lights mean a bus stop is coming soon. When you see flashing red lights accompanied by the extended bus stop arm, that signifies that children are being either loaded or unloaded.

When the lights are flashing red, a driver absolutely must stop by law.

Officials say it’s a good idea to start to slow down and maybe even come to a stop when the yellow lights are flashing. On any given stop, that process takes no longer than two minutes.

“It’s my belief that every child’s life is worth more than two minutes of any driver’s time,” says school bus driver Shaun Dustin.

The most dangerous time of year for kids

October is school bus safety month nationwide and also happens to be the most dangerous time for students.

“Just a few weeks ago we had some kids on their way to the bus stop,” says Harden. “One person was running to catch up to an older sibling and got struck by a car.”

Thankfully that child only suffered minor injuries, but she says the accident never should have happened.

According to the district, in a recent one-day illegal passing count, over 900 drivers ignored extended school bus stop arms and flashing red lights.

“They’re not just passing on the left anymore, they’re passing on the right,” she explains.

In hopes of mitigating the problem, the district has unveiled a new public awareness campaign called “STOP the Stop Arm Violations.”

They say South Jordan Police is working with the schools and will be keeping a closer eye out for violations.

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Drivers: it’s time to take school bus safety seriously, schools say