Back to School: Bus safety for students and drivers

Portsmouth School Bus

Virginia Beach, Va. (WAVY) — Drivers be on alert as you will now be sharing the road with thousands of school buses in Hampton Roads.

Parents can feel a little less nervous this year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration now says that school buses are the safest vehicles on the road.

Still, accidents happen.

Virginia Beach School’s Executive Director of Transportation, David Pace, has seen almost everything in more than 40 years with the district.

“One of the big problems in our nation is people passing a stopped school bus loading and unloading children and that’s one of the most dangerous things a motorist can do.”

David Pace, Virginia Beach School’s Executive Director of Transportation

Not just dangerous — it is illegal. Red flashing lights mean stop.

According to Pace, VBCPS has “stop-arm cameras” on a hundred plus of their buses.

If you’re captured on a camera passing a school bus loading or unloading children, you can be cited for $250.

To avoid an accident and the hefty fine, drivers must stop 20 feet behind the bus until the stop arm is withdrawn and the bus starts moving.

Parents can help protect their children by making sure they follow these rules:

  • Never walk behind a bus.
  • Walk-in front of the crossing gate, so drivers can see them.
  • Never bend down to pick up a dropped item.

Pace says the last rule keeps a student from trying to retrieve a dropped item beneath the bus. If they bend down to get it, drivers cannot see them and that’s very dangerous.

Local districts also ask parents to be patient the first week as drivers and students get used to new routines. There is a chance they could be late.

Many schools use apps you can download on your phone and track a bus’s arrival time.

Stay with for all your Back to School information.

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