(PIKESVILLE, MD) – With students beginning to head back to school – many for the first time in more than a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic – Maryland State Police and the Maryland Center For School Safety are stressing school bus safety for motorists.
In a typical school year, more than 600,000 Maryland students ride school buses in Maryland. Troopers are reminding motorists to be on alert for school buses and not to ignore the red flashing lights when a bus is stopped. Those caught breaking the law by police can cost a driver a $570 fine and a three-point penalty on their driver’s license.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), from 2009 to 2018, there were 249 school-age children killed nationally in school transportation-related crashes: 52 were occupants of school transportation vehicles, 92 were occupants of other vehicles, 100 were pedestrians, four were pedalcyclists and one was another non-occupant. Also, more school-age pedestrians were killed from 6 to 8 a.m. and from 3 to 4 p.m. than any other hour of the day, according to the NHTSA.
Overall, 1,207 people of all ages were killed between 2009 and 2018 in school transportation-related crashes. Of those, 208 were pedestrians, according to the NHTSA.
To stay on top of your school bus safety game, the Maryland Center for School Safety (MCSS) encourages Marylanders to:
- Always pay attention when driving, especially in school zones and during school bus stops;
- Always stop when a bus stops; it is illegal to pass a school bus with its red lights flashing and stop-arm extended when it has stopped to load or unload students;
- Always ensure that any mask or face shield that you wear out in public does not prevent you from maintaining a clear line of sight when operating a motor vehicle or walking near moving vehicles; and
- Always remember that children’s brains are still developing – don’t expect them to behave as you would when entering, exiting, or in a school bus; therefore, maintain a safe distance from school buses at all times.