School reminds drivers, parents of bus safety

By Shannon Rigsby, MPS Communications
Every day school is in session, Mustang Public Schools has 54 route buses on the road, some of them running their route three different times to deliver elementary, intermediate, and then middle and MHS students to and from school. And every day, motorists ignore the red flashing lights and the extended stop sign and continue driving past the bus while students are loading and unloading.
“There isn’t a day it doesn’t happen,” Transportation Director Angela McClure said. “Perhaps some people just don’t know the law, but passing a school bus with its red lights on comes with an automatic penalty of losing your driver’s license for one year. This not only means traffic traveling the same direction as the bus, but also applies to traffic traveling the opposite direction.”
This includes traffic in neighborhoods, on four lane highways and those that also include a turn lane like Highway 152. Traffic going both directions must stop for a bus with its red lights on.
“The only time traffic going the opposite direction does not stop is if the road is divided by a median,” McClure said. “At most stops, letting a child safely on or off of the bus takes no more than 30 seconds. If a child should dart across the street to catch a piece of paper they dropped, for example, then the motorist who doesn’t stop is likely to hit that child. Shaving a minute off your drive time will never be worth that risk.”
McClure said parents should take this opportunity to remind their children about bus safety.
—Always remain in direct eyesight of the bus driver
—Get to the bus stop in plenty of time, at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive
—Take 10 giant steps back from the curb while waiting for the bus and 10 steps when exiting the bus
—Never try to get anything left on the bus after exiting
—Never reach underneath a bus
—Always follow the driver’s directions for how to cross the street
—Be alert to traffic and look both ways
—Always cross in front of the bus, but only when the bus driver signals it is safe to do so.
The district also prefers that a parent or guardian be present at the bus stop when kindergarten and first grade students get off the bus.
“Our drivers are very protective, particularly of our youngest students,” she said. “We prefer someone be at the bus stop every single day or we may keep them on the bus until we see the parent. In some instances where our driver is uncomfortable about letting a 4 or 5-year-old student off the bus with no adult to meet them, we will take the child back to the school.”
Anyone with general transportation questions can email TransportationDept@mustangps.org.

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