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Importance of school bus safety for Massachusetts drivers

Those who commute on a daily basis are used to all sorts of things that slow them down, from wet weather to accidents on the side of the road. Now that school has begun for many local children and teens, school busses are another daily commute element of which drivers must be aware. Sadly, damaging or even deadly auto accidents may involve school buses or pedestrians getting on or off the busses. Far too often, a negligent or reckless driver will inadvertently cause a crash that harms some of Massachusetts' youngest users of the roads.

There are several safety tips drivers can keep in mind when traveling near a school bus. Of course, drivers must obey the law and stop for school busses that have their stop signs extended. In addition, drivers may want to give the bus plenty of space so that any children getting on or off can safely walk around the bus if need be. If a driver is behind a bus that is traveling on the road, the driver may want to be extra careful when passing the large, and often slow-moving, vehicle. In addition, since busses stop at railroad crossings, drivers can avoid an accident by being aware of this fact and hitting their brakes early.

A key element of car accident avoidance when it comes to school busses and their passengers is anticipation of pedestrian activity. Many children are likely to be out and about when it's near time for busses to come; making matters more chaotic is the fact that this time often coincides with the morning and afternoon rush hour. Even though everyone is understandably in a hurry, no driver wants to have liability for an accident or pedestrian strike. A distracted driver could easily miss spotting a child running to catch the bus or walking out from behind one.

Each year, hundreds of thousands of Massachusetts students get to school via the bus. The majority of bus-related accidents occur when children are exiting or boarding the bus. As a result, aware drivers may be doing more than helping themselves avoid an accident; they could potentially be saving a life or preventing serious injury to a child.

Source: Observer-Reporter, "School's in: Driving safety near school buses," Aug. 27, 2015

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