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Keep the buses rolling safely

This is National School Bus Safety Week

Riding the big yellow bus is an essential part of the school day for thousands of local children.

Those school buses do more than take kids to and from class. They are also the transportation to field trips, sports events and other activities.

With so many buses on the road carrying students from pre-school to seniors in high school, safety is of paramount importance. That’s why the Iowa Department of Education and the Iowa State Patrol have stringent standards for school buses. But the rest of us on the road also have some responsibility for keeping the kids on those buses safe.

That’s why a group of school transportation agencies sponsors National School Bus Safety Week every year. We are now in the 2021 version of that week.

The theme of this week is Be Safe — Know the Danger Zone.

In this case, the danger zone is close to the bus. Students getting on and off the bus should not linger close to it. People driving other vehicles should not get too close, either.

Obviously, red lights on a traffic signal mean stop. But the flashing red lights on a school bus mean stop also. To make the point even more obvious, school buses also have a stop sign on them that displays whenever the bus door opens.

Stopping all the nearby traffic helps to protect the youths around a school bus whenever it stops to pick up or drop off students.

Those who ride the buses also must take steps to protect themselves. Looking both ways before crossing any street is a good basic practice. Children should also be taught to never try to pick up anything dropped near or under the bus.

Safety around school buses is largely a matter of common sense, but it’s common sense that saves lives.

We urge everyone to follow safety precautions around school buses.

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