National School Bus Safety Week — October 21– 25, 2013

Every school day, approximately 18,000 students are transported on a yellow bus in the City of Detroit to Detroit Public Schools.  These buses travel more than four million miles annually in Detroit.  This would equate to traveling around the earth 161 times each year.

While school buses are one of the safest modes of transport, there are real risks in getting on and off of buses, and walking to bus stops.  Regrettably, many cars and other vehicles drive past stopped school buses with flashing lights when they are supposed to stop.  In many cases, this is due to unawareness of the laws rather than aggressive driving.

This is a very dangerous practice and puts the lives of our children at risk.

Most drivers are only told about the rules for passing a stopped school bus with flashing red lights when they first learn to drive – often many years ago.  We would like to take this opportunity to remind all drivers of the safe practices that should take place when school buses are stopped with yellow or red lights flashing.

Here are some tips to help students, parents and motorists stay safe around buses.

  1. When you see a school bus, assume children will be around and take extra care – leave lots of space around the bus.
  2. When the bus turns on the yellow flashing lights – this means it is about to stop either at a railroad crossing or to pick up students.  Slow down and prepare to stop.
  3. When the bus turns on the red flashing lights – this means STOP in BOTH directions.  Never pass a school bus with red flashing lights in either direction.  Stop well back from the bus.  If you have any doubt as to what to do – STOP.

Be reminded Detroit Public Schools requires GPS and Video Cameras on all yellow buses that transport DPS students.  This implementation has resulted in a reduction of the number of student incidents on the bus and a reduction in the number of bus accidents, while also improving on-time arrivals.

Assist us by promoting the value of school transportation services, and help further the understanding of the care and professionalism that goes into keeping children safe.

–James Minnick, Executive Director, Office of Student Transportation

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