School started back this week for Colorado students and that means more traffic on the roads in the mornings and afternoons. It also means more pedestrians and bikers on the roads at those times of day too. We thought this was a pertinent time to review Colorado School Bus Safety and general guidelines for driving in and near school zones during the school year.
First, if you’re driving to work early in the mornings, through school zones, be extra vigilant to pay attention to your surroundings. We know even local law enforcement aren’t immune to pedestrian accidents. If it’s dark it can be harder to see students crossing the road; slow down and stay focused on what’s happening around you.
Obey all posted speed limit signs in school zones when lights are flashing. School zones have flashing lights to remind you to slow down to the posted speed limit (usually 15-25mph) at the beginning and end of the school day. Not following these speed limits can lead to hefty fines for you and could lead to an accident with a student walking or biking to or from school.
Be aware that during the beginning and end of the school day police are extra vigilant in patrolling near school zones. Along with speeding, police are also looking for signs that drivers are distracted – using phones, looking away from the road, etc.
Know the rules around stopping for school buses. According to Colorado.gov, approximately 24 students are killed each year in school bus accidents. 1/3 of those are by motorists who failed to stop for a school bus that was loading or unloading students. It is illegal to pass a stopped school bus that has its flashing signal lights on. If you see a school bus stopped with its stop sign out and flashing lights on you must stop 20 ft from the bus and remain stopped until the bus lights have stopped flashing.
What happens if you DON’T follow the law when it comes to school buses? Along with endangering the lives of children, you could face hefty fines.
Pay attention; don’t get distracted. This is the most important rule when it comes to school zones and Colorado School bus safety.