The safety of our most vulnerable

Published 6:48 pm Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Did you know that on a typical school day, there are more than 14,000 school buses carrying nearly 800,000 students operating on North Carolina roads?

Did you know that passing a stopped school bus can result in four insurance points and an 80% increase in auto insurance premiums? Indeed, that could be the case, according to North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey.

Regardless of the cost of such a transgression, what’s most important is the safety of the most vulnerable among us — our children.

Causey’s office focused on safety, so in honor of school starting up on Monday, have a look at Causey’s safety suggestions that apply to pedestrians, bike riders, bus riders and drivers.

For pedestrians:

  • Walk on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk and you must walk in the street or road, walk facing traffic.
  • Before crossing the street, stop and look left, right and left again to see if cars are coming.
  • Never dart out in front of a parked car.
  • Parents: Practice walking to school with your child, crossing streets or crosswalks when available.
  • Never walk while texting or talking on the phone.
  • Do not walk while using headphones.

For bike riders:

  • Always wear a helmet that is fitted and secured properly.
  • Children need to know the rules of the road: Ride single file on the right side of the road, come to a complete stop before crossing the street and walk the bike across.
  • Watch for opening car doors and other hazards.
  • Use hand signals when turning.
  • Wear bright-colored clothing.

For bus riders:

  • Teach children the proper way to get on and off the bus.
  • Line up six feet away from the curb as the bus approaches.
  • If seat belts are available, buckle up.
  • Wait for the bus to stop completely before standing.
  • If you must cross the road, walk at least 10 feet in front of the bus.

For motorists, in addition to obeying the stopped school bus law:

  • Don’t block crosswalks.
  • Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and take extra precaution in school zones.
  • Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians.
  • Stop far enough back from a school bus to allow children room to safely enter and exit the bus. The area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children.