With school starting next Tuesday, Sept. 6, there will be lots of school buses on the roads and students walking to school – so drivers need to be extra careful.
It’s also a good time to review traffic laws, as the Fairfax County Police Department warns its officers will be out in force in school zones.
Drivers must stop for any school bus when its lights are on and its “stop arm” is activated as children get on and off the bus. Drivers must stop in both directions unless separated from the bus by a median.
It’s illegal to exceed the 25-mile per hour speed limit in a school zone. Violators are subject to a fine of up to $250.
Any child in a motor vehicle up to age 8 must be in a child restraint device. Any vehicle passenger over age 8 and up to age 18 must wear a seatbelt.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an average of 24 school-age children die in transportation related crashes each year (11 occupants and 13 pedestrians).
To keep your children safe:
- Children should arrive at the bus stop at least five minutes early.
- At the bus stop, children should wait at least “three giant steps” away from the curb.
- Children should never walk behind the bus.
- If they have to cross the street in front of a bus, they should make eye contact with the driver. If they drop something in the street, they should tell the drive rather than pick it up.
- Children walking to school should walk with a responsible adult and in a group.
- They should stay on a sidewalk and if there isn’t one, they should walk facing traffic.
- Children should only cross at crosswalks or intersections.