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Billboards will remind drivers of dangers of passing stopped school buses

45 billboards will be placed throughout state

FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 27, 2016) — About 45 billboards are being installed to remind drivers the dangers of passing a stopped school bus. The first 23 billboards will go up in Pikeville, Prestonsburg, Paintsville, Danville, Frankfort, Georgetown, Harrodsburg, Versailles, Lexington, Owensboro and Henderson with other communities to follow the first week of August.

11091016_GDuring the 2014-15 school year, 75 percent of the school bus-related fatalities occurred when a student was hit by a passing vehicle, according to the annual National School Bus Loading and Unloading Survey. Kentucky has not recorded any such fatalities.

According to a survey by the National Association of the State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services of more than 96,000 school bus drivers in 33 states, drivers recorded 74,421 vehicles illegally passing a stopped school bus.

In Kentucky, it is illegal to pass a stopped school bus in either direction on a two-lane road if the warning lights on the bus are on. School bus drivers use a “flashing signal light system” to alert motorists of pending actions:

  • Yellow flashing lights indicate that the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children. Motorists should slow down and prepare to stop their vehicles.
  • Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate that the bus has stopped, and that children are getting on or off the bus. Motorists must stop their cars and wait until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop sign is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving before they can start moving again.

More than 385,000 children in Kentucky ride some 9,855 school buses each day. To keep those children safe during their travels, the National Transportation Safety Administration offers these tips to drivers:

  • When backing out of a driveway or leaving a garage, watch out for children walking or bicycling to school.
  • When driving in neighborhoods with school zones, watch out for young people who may be thinking about getting to school, but may not be thinking of getting there safely.
  • Slow down. Watch for children walking in the street, especially if there are no sidewalks in the neighborhood.
  • Slow down. Watch for children playing and congregating near bus stops.
  • Be alert. Children arriving late for the bus may dart into the street without looking for traffic.
  • Observe the posted speed limit in school zones.