JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- As parents prepare to send their kids back to school, there are five things to remember to help keep your kids safe on and off the school bus.
1.) In Duval County last year, there were 152 crashes involving school buses. One in four accidents ended with the bus driver being ticketed but most of the time, the bus driver was not at fault. So we'd like to take this time to remind drivers to pay attention. Watch for school buses, be mindful of school zones and cross walks. You can sign our pledge - the Great First Coast Hang Up - promising to be a safe driver.
2.) Tell children to avoid the "danger zone," which is ten feet from where the bus is going to stop. Children should stand 5 giant steps, or 10 feet, away from that area. Children are three to five times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident when they're getting on and off the school bus.
3.) Drivers that either ignore or don't pay attention to the school bus stop arms are a major concern. According to a March 2011 National Stop Arm survey, school bus drivers across Florida documented more than 20,000 illegal passers in just one day. In Duval County alone, over 2,000 illegal passers were reported. Here are the rules of the road: If there is no median, all vehicles are required to stop, in both directions, once the school bus pulls over and puts the stop signs up. If there is a median - a barrier of 5 feet or more - then only the traffic moving on the same side as the school bus is required to stop.
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4.) As kids get ready to leave for school, parents are encouraged to remind them how important it is to remain alert at all times. Don't have your headphones in, don't text or talk on the phone as you walk to school or the bus stop., otherwise you won't be aware of what's around you. Additionally, if you're carpooling or taking the bus, make sure you wear your seat belt. If you have to cross the street, wait for the bus driver to give you the "all clear."
5.) If you see bad or aggressive drivers on the roads, report it to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office at 630-0500. Officers have to see violations to enforce them, but if you witness a particular area where drivers are reckless around a school bus stop or speeding through a school zone, let JSO know and they can send an officer to that location.
First Coast News