(WTNH) -- School buses are back on the road in many Connecticut communities this week, and in even more cities and towns after the Labor Day holiday. That makes it a good time of year to remind everyone about the importance of school bus safety.
From AAA, here are some tips on driving around and near school buses:
- Keep your headlights on (it makes you more visible).
- Slow down near schools and neighborhoods where kids may be walking.
- Scan between parked cars for kids that could dart out into the road.
When the red lights are flashing on a school bus, that's the same as a stop sign and state law says you have to stop ten feet away from the bus. Violators will be fined $450 for a first offense, and even more for a second infraction.
Between 2007 and 2011, more than 3,100 drivers were cited for not stopping for the flashing lights, according to a report prepared one year ago for the Connecticut general assembly.
Some Connecticut communities are using on-board cameras which start recording as soon as the flashing red lights turn on to catch violators in the act. Naugatuck will begin using cameras on some of its buses this year.
For students, AAA offers these tips for safe school bus riding:
- Leave home early enough to arrive at your bus stop on time.
- Wait for your bus in a safe place well off the roadway.
- Enter your bus in an orderly manner and take your seat.
- Follow the instructions of your school bus driver or bus patrol.
- Remain in your seat while your bus is in motion.
- Keep your head and arms in the bus at all times.
- Keep aisles clear at all times.
- Remain quiet and orderly.
- Be courteous to your school bus driver and fellow passengers.
- Be alert to traffic when leaving the bus.
AAA has a brochure for parents to go over with their school-age children about 'The Safest Route to School" with many helpful tips (.pdf).
Did you know there is a name for the color of school buses? According to the Connecticut statute it's called "National School Bus Glossy Yellow".
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