Last week, at least five children were killed and seven injured while waiting to board their school buses. The incidents in question took place in Indiana, Mississippi, Florida and Pennsylvania. On Oct. 30, in rural Indiana, 9-year-old Alivia Stahl and her twin 6-year-old brothers, Mason and Xzavier Ingle, were killed when a pickup truck hit them while they were crossing the street to their bus stop. Another student was injured.
On Oct. 31, just north of Tupelo, Mississippi, a 9-year-old was hit and killed as he was crossing the road to board his school bus. That same day, in Tallahassee, Florida, a kindergartner who was crossing the street to board his own school bus was hit.
And on Nov. 1, in central Pennsylvania, a 7-year-old boy was found dead on the side of the road, where he had been waiting for his school bus to arrive. That same day, in Tampa, Florida, five children and two adults were rushed to the hospital after a car struck them at a school bus stop.
These tragic incidents, which have elicited an outpouring of sadness and outrage, have also drawn attention to the precautions drivers should take when driving near stopped school buses. NBC25 News recently posted an image to their Facebook page to show drivers what to do when near a stopped school bus, writing, “It only takes a second to share this. With the recent crashes involving children at bus stops throughout the country we thought it would be good to post this to remind everyone the rules of the road.”
The image also appears on the website of the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration, alongside a long list of rules drivers should keep in mind.
In addition to a list of tips parents can share with their children, the site shares that driving laws in all 50 states require all vehicles traveling in the same direction as a bus to stop when the bus displays its flashing red warning lights and extends its stop signal arm. In some states, vehicles coming from the opposite direction are also required to stop. Vehicles may only pass after the flashing red lights and signals are turned off.
The National Safety Council also recommends leaving more space between your car and a bus than you would if you were driving behind another car. This gives you more time to stop when you see a bus’s yellow lights start flashing. In some states, leaving that extra space is the law.
Though last week’s terrible accidents happened when kids were heading to school in the morning, AAA warns drivers to be extra cautious after school as well, because one in four child pedestrian fatalities occurred between 3 and 7 p.m. in the past decade.
We’re often loath to slow down when we get behind the wheel of a car. But forgetting these driving laws can have terrible consequences. Review your state’s laws today.