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AAA Mid Atlantic reminding drivers to be cautious with school buses on the road

November 12th, 2018 by WCBC Radio

The recent tragic spate of school bus stop crashes and school bus loading and unloading crashes over the past few weeks serve as a somber reminder about the importance of school bus safety. Motorists need to be particularly diligent about slowing down, avoiding distractions and staying alert during the morning and afternoon hours when school buses are more likely to be on the road, reminds AAA Mid-Atlantic. The switch to Standard Time last Sunday means many motorists are now facing the threat of sun glare during the morning commute. AAA, the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration and other agencies are working together to promote school bus safety to drivers. Efforts include electronic highway message signs on US 40, US 50, US 301 and other arterial routes; social media messaging and grassroots outreach through the Mid-Atlantic Foundation for Safety and Education.

“School buses are very special vehicles out there on Maryland roads every day.  Drivers must stay alert for school buses and what is happening around them with the children who rely upon them for safe travel to and from school,” said MDOT SHA Administrator Greg Slater.  “On undivided highways with no physical median or barrier, drivers in both directions must stop when school buses extend ‘stop’ arms and activate red lights.”

Despite last week’s crash in Anne Arundel County involving an SUV colliding with a school bus and another recent crash in Montgomery County, the school bus remains the safest vehicle on the road, keeping children safer while traveling to and from school than traveling by car, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

“The greatest risk to your child is not riding a bus, but approaching or leaving one,” said Ragina Cooper Averella, Manager of Public and Government Affairs at AAA Mid-Atlantic. “It’s important that parents, students, teachers, motorists, school bus operators, school administrators, and other safety advocates join forces to build awareness of the importance of school bus safety.”

Every day, nationwide approximately 500,000 school buses transport more than 23 million students to and from school. However, each year, nationally, about 24 school-aged children are killed in school transportation-related traffic crashes.

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