City of Colorado Springs / Police / News

Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday, August 15, 2014, 09:00 AM [RELEASE AT WILL]

The Colorado Springs Police Department and their traffic safety partner, DRIVE SMART COLORADO, want to remind parents about the best ways to ensure the safety of all children as schools get back in session.

You may already be seeing local area schools back in session, and by this time next week they will nearly all be back for new school year. This is an excellent time to remind parents, drivers and students themselves about ways to remain safe traveling to and from their schools.  

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, students are about 50 times more likely to arrive at school alive if they take the bus than if they drive themselves, or ride with friends or adults. The annual average of student fatalities during normal school travel hours show that 58 percent of fatalities occur when a teen is the driver, 23 percent of fatalities occur with an adult driver, but only 1 percent of student fatalities occur due to a school bus incident. 

Refresh your knowledge about driving around school buses: Yellow flashing lights indicate that the bus is preparing to stop to pick-up or drop off children. Drivers need to slow down and prepare to stop.

Colorado law states that you must stop your vehicle at least 20 feet before reaching a school bus that is stopped with its red lights flashing whether it is on your side of the road, the opposite side of the road, or at an intersection you are approaching. A school bus may be equipped with a stop arm that extends out from the bus at the same time the red lights are flashing. You must remain stopped until the flashing red lights are no longer operating, the stop arm folds back and the bus continues on its way. The rules for stopping are the same with, or without, an extended stop arm. Watch carefully for children near the school bus and children crossing the roadway before proceeding. You are not required to stop if the bus is traveling towards you on a roadway that is separated by a median or other physical barrier.

Cindy Hardin, Director of Transportation for School District 20, wants drivers to remember the slogan, “STOP ON RED, KIDS AHEAD”. According to the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation 97,000 bus drivers reported 75,966 stop arm violations in one single day during the 2013 - 2014 school year. 

Maile Gray, Executive Director of DRIVE SMART COLORADO, says that proper preparation for your child to ride a school bus is key. “It will be important to walk your young child to the bus stop for the first several days, or daily, depending on the age. Children younger than 10 are not encouraged to walk alone as they have a difficult time judging distance and speed of the traffic around them. Teach them good behavior at the bus stop to prevent injury”.