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First Lady Stresses Importance of School Bus Safety

First Lady Stresses Importance of School Bus Safety

Now that school has started once again, it is more important than ever for motorists to drive carefully around school buses and obey passing laws. That’s why Georgia’s First Lady Sandra Deal is heading up a public awareness campaign about school bus safety.

In conjunction with Governor’s Office of Highway Safety and the state Department of Education, Ms. Deal is heading up the “Stop Means Stop” campaign to promote safety for children who ride the bus. To bring awareness to the issues, Ms. Deal has been touring the state to visit schools in Harris, Dougherty, Bibb, Bulloch and Columbia counties.

Keeping our kids safe when they are riding to and from school on the bus is of the utmost importance. Since 1995, 11 fatalities have occurred when students were struck by motorists while attempting to cross the street after exiting a bus.

School districts across the state performed a voluntary survey in May that showed 7,349 vehicles illegally passed school buses in a total of 4,222 incidents. The numbers in last year’s survey were higher: 8,102 vehicles passed a school bus illegally in a total of 4,629 incidents. However, this year, not all 178 school districts with bus programs turned in data for the survey, so the apparent decline could be inaccurate. One thing is clear, however. Georgia has too many instances of drivers illegally passing school buses.

The law in Georgia states that vehicles traveling in both directions must stop when a school bus activates its stop sign arm. This law applies to vehicles on a two lane road or a multi-lane road with no median or barrier between the lanes. Drivers traveling in the lane opposite the bus must proceed with caution if there is an unpaved median or barrier separating the lanes.

Remember: it is illegal to go around a school bus if it has its stop sign out. Even if the bus is on the other side of the street, unless there is a median or barrier, all cars must stop. Kids can exit a bus quickly and are not always easy to see, and sometimes the view of children crossing can be obscured by the bus itself.

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