As a driver, the last thing you want is to injure a student going to or from school. You can avoid accidents and keep students safe by following all your local school bus laws. National School Bus Safety Week aims to raise awareness about the safety of kids traveling to school by bus. To keep school children safe in Massachusetts, drivers need to follow local traffic and bussing laws.
If you are involved in an accident, consider hiring an experienced car accident attorney from Jason Stone Injury Lawyers. Our Boston car accident lawyers have the skills and experience to evaluate your accident case and help get you results.
School Bus Safety
More than 25 million kids ride the bus to school each day, and students are 70 times more likely to arrive at school safely when traveling by bus than by car. However, the occasional accident does happen. On average, four to six students die in bus accidents every year in the United States. This accounts for less than 1% of all traffic fatalities.
Most school bus-related injuries occur when students are crossing a road to exit or board a bus. To further reduce accidents and deaths, drivers are asked to observe National School Bus Safety Week and educate themselves about local laws.
What is National School Bus Safety Week?
National School Bus Safety Week is a public education program for parents, students, teachers, school administrators, drivers, and bus operators.
It runs in schools and communities nationwide during the third full week of October every year. In 2021, the event will run from October 18-22. This event spreads awareness of school bus safety issues. It reminds drivers to be on the lookout for students and to practice safe habits around school buses.
How to Observe National School Bus Safety Week
As a driver, you can help keep school buses safe on the road. To observe National School Bus Safety Week, revisit the best bus practices for drivers.
- Be on the lookout for students walking or biking to school when you back out of your driveway each morning.
- Drive slowly: give yourself more time to react in residential neighborhoods and school zones where students are more likely to be walking.
- Take extra care around bus stops. Students gather and play here while waiting for the bus and may not be paying attention to traffic.
- Always be alert. Students don’t always think before acting and may dart out into traffic without looking.
- Obey all the school bus laws. Learn and follow the flashing signal light system used by buses.
- Drivers need to slow down and prepare to stop when a bus signals with yellow flashing lights.
- Red flashing lights and a stop sign indicate a bus is stopping to let students on or off. Stop your car until the lights go out and the bus moves forward. Continue to be on the lookout for students as you drive through the intersection.
- Know the specific traffic laws in your state.
School Bus Laws in Massachusetts
Massachusetts school buses transport over 400,000 students to school and back each day. Massachusetts has laws in place that drivers must obey for the safety of these students.
● Massachusetts General Law Chapter 90 Section 14
Drivers in Massachusetts are issued tickets and ordered to pay fines up to $250 for illegally passing a school bus. If drivers break this law repeatedly, they face fines up to $2,000, and their license can be suspended for up to a year.
● Massachusetts General Law Chapter 90 Section 17
Unless on a highway, school buses are not allowed to move faster than 40 miles per hour while transporting students. Drivers should be mindful of this and not follow buses traveling at slower speeds too closely.
● Massachusetts General Law Chapter 159 Section 104
Anyone caught throwing rocks, or other objects at a school bus faces fines up to $500 and can be jailed for this offense for up to one year.
Further rules for drivers can be found in the Massachusetts Driver’s Manual. You’ll learn that drivers on both sides of the road in Massachusetts must stop for a bus with its lights flashing and stop sign out. You must remain stopped until the lights go off and the stop sign folds back in.
The only exception for this law is when you’re driving on a divided highway with a barrier between lanes. You do not have to stop if you’re on the opposite side of the highway barrier from a bus.
If You’re Involved in an Auto Accident, Seek Legal Help
Practicing safe driving techniques around buses protect students from injury and death. Increasing your awareness of pedestrians and other traffic also improves your safety on the road.
Remember to follow the road rules and other best driving practices to prevent getting into an accident in Massachusetts. If you’re involved in an accident with a bus or other vehicle, consider hiring an attorney. Our legal team at Jason Stone Injury Lawyers is hands-on, and our car accident lawyers are ready to protect your rights and fight for compensation on your behalf. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.