ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — This time next week, it is full-on back-to-school season and that means all the school buses are back on the streets.
Buses are practicing their routes, preparing for the start of school next week. Law enforcement is reminding everyone of the safety that comes with sharing the road.
“Don’t pass a stopped school bus,” Deputy Brendan Hurley from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office says. “Don’t do it.”
A statewide survey from the New York Association for Pupil Transportation says about 50,000 drivers illegally pass stopped school buses every single day in New York during the school year. Deputy Hurley says on top of breaking the law, the risk of what could happen is simply not worth it.
“Worst case scenario is, there’s kids out there and you’re going to hurt somebody or kill somebody,” Hurley says. “The other scenario is, we’re going to be sitting there watching because we do. Especially this time of year, we’re going to be following the buses, making sure everybody is following the rules and if you pass that school bus – you’re going to get a pretty hefty ticket.”
Hurley says at the beginning of the school year, with warmer weather, more students are walking to school as well. He adds that you should check all the crosswalks before driving past them because people do have the right of way when crossing.
“There’s a lot of kids who are going to be walking to and from school – especially this early time of the school season when it’s still kind of nice outside,” he says. “So it’s strength in numbers. Try not to have your kids walk by themselves, especially if they’re very young.”
He says, to make the mornings easier — plan ahead for when to leave for the morning commute so there aren’t any delays.
“It’s that time of year again,” Hurley says. “School’s going back in session. You’re going to see buses. They’re going to be stopping. Maybe you need to leave for work a little bit earlier because there’s going to be a bus stop on your route.”
The bottom line is, slow down and don’t break the law. The consequences could be deadly. The state DMV says our youngest students in grades K-3 are most at risk. These children, though they represent less than one-third of the student population, they are involved in most cases where a student is seriously hurt or killed.