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Bus driver shortage complicates roadway safety issues

LEXINGTON, Ky. — With the 2021-2022 school year underway across Central Kentucky, AAA is urging all motorists to sharpen their driving skills and limit distractions. The school bus driver shortage and related transportation issues due to COVID-19 have increased pedestrian traffic, changing traffic patterns, and altered times at which school buses take to the roadways, all raising concerns around back-to-school safety.

Issues with back-to-school transportation are affecting not only school districts, students, and parents, but also other drivers on the roads. Some students and parents are still navigating changes in bus stops and bus routes or long car lines for drop-off and pick-up.

For many adults who spent last year working from home, it may be the first time they’ve had to share the road with school buses in more than a year as well. In some instances, buses may be on the roads longer into the normal work commute time than many drivers may expect.

AAA advises all drivers to prepare for possible changes in and around school zones:

  • Staggered schedules, social distancing, and the bus driver shortage could mean school buses are on the roads to transport students for longer periods of time in the morning and afternoon.
  • More parents may opt to transport their children to and from school, avoiding the school bus and increasing the volume of vehicles during drop-off and pickup.
  • More students may take to walking or biking to school, increasing foot and bike traffic close to schools.
  • Improperly sized or incorrectly worn masks can even limit a child’s vision and could put them at risk for not recognizing or seeing dangers in and along the road or in the bus loop.

Students, parents, teachers, administrators, transportation personnel, and the motoring public all play important roles in keeping children safe while on or around a school bus. Motorists especially need to follow the rules of the road when it comes to stopping for school buses.

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