FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sheriff Sounds “Cautionary Alarm” for Bus Safety
Contact: Susan Lilly, Public Information Officer 970-729-2028
December 14, 2018 -- (San Miguel County, CO) – San Miguel Sheriff Bill Masters is sounding a cautionary alarm for motorists with regard to school bus safety.
Deputies have been patrolling school bus routes after receiving numerous reports from parents, bus drivers and their supervisors regarding careless driving around school buses and their concern for student safety.
Deputies have reported disturbing and dangerous driving practices around school buses including passing a stopped bus while children are loading. In just the last few days, four summons to appear in court have been issued to motorists violating statute 42-4-1903 which outlines school bus safety laws.
Sheriff Masters said especially in light of recent school bus related fatalities in Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi and Pennsylvania, it’s time to call attention to important safety practices. “We will not wait for a tragedy to hit our community for us get focused on the safety of our children riding the school bus.”
Many motorists may not know that a vehicle is supposed to stop 20 feet from the back or front of the bus, and more importantly not to drive within 20 feet of the bus.
Below are safety rules for motorists, parents and students from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). Deputies will distribute this information to county HOAs and have asked Superintendent Mike Gass to distribute to parents of students.
Tips for Motorists:
- Be alert and slow down when driving in neighborhoods with school zones.
- Watch for children walking, playing or assembling near bus stops. Children arriving late for the bus may dart into the street without looking for traffic.
- Obey the school bus laws in your State, as well as the "flashing signal light system" used for school buses.
- Yellow flashing lights indicate the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children. Motorists should slow down and prepare to stop their vehicles.
- Red flashing lights and extended stop armsindicate the bus has stopped and children are getting on or off. Motorists must stop their cars and wait until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop-arm is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving before they can start driving again.
Tips for caregivers and students:
- Arrive at the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive. Stand at least three giant steps (six feet) away from the curb. The bus stop is not a place to run or play.
- When the school bus arrives, wait until the bus comes to a complete stop, the door opens, and the driver says it’s okay before approaching the bus door. Use the handrails to avoid falling.
- Never walk behind a school bus. Walk on a sidewalk or along the side of the street. Cross the street in front of the bus with at least five giant steps (10 feet) between the front of the bus and you. Make eye contact with the bus driver before crossing to make sure the driver can see you.
- If you drop something near the school bus, like a ball or book, tell the bus driver right away. Do not try to pick up the item, because the driver might not be able to see you.
The San Miguel Sheriff’s Office, located in Telluride, Colorado and established in 1883, serves 7,800 residents and countless visitors across the 1,288 square miles of San Miguel County. Sheriff Bill Masters has been serving as the county’s elected Sheriff since 1980