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Advice During National School Bus Safety Week

Hardeman County Schools are proud to support National School Bus Safety Week (October 17 – 21), a time set aside each year to recognize the important role our bus drivers serve in our communities and remind us to follow safety laws in order to protect children around our school buses.  We would like to first recognize our bus drivers and technicians.  In Hardeman County, we transport over 3,000 students daily on 64 routes, usually without incident. Statistically, there is no safer way for a student to travel than on a school bus.  This is due in large part to the hard work and dedication of our bus drivers and technicians, and we should all take a moment this week to thank them for what they do.  We would also like to thank parents and teachers, who have done an outstanding job educating their children regarding bus safety. And, certainly, the students, who follow the safety rules so well, ensuring they get to and from school so they can learn. The large majority of the population knows and follows school bus safety rules, and this allows for Hardeman County’s students to reach their schools and homes safely every day.  
The theme of this year’s National School Bus Safety Week is “Bully Free Zone.” It reminds us that a safe enjoyable day at school starts with the bus ride to school.  We should encourage students to work together to help insure safe transit on the school bus and to handle issues through the bus driver and/or staff at their schools.  Fortunately, most accidents involving school buses do not occur when students are on the bus.  However, the “Danger Zone”, which is 10 feet around the bus, is where most accidents, involving students, occur.  For this reason, it is important that all of us understand what to do when we see a school bus. Here are a few reminders:  
1. Slow down in school zones. The speed limit is lower in these areas because when near a school, students are moving on and off the bus, being dropped off by their parents, or walking to the school.  Slowing down in these zones gives drivers time to react.  
2. Slow down for yellow flashing lights on school buses.  Stop for red flashing lights and the stop arm.  We know it can be tempting to speed up when you see those flashing lights, but it is very dangerous to try passing the bus before it stops. The red lights mean students are getting on and off the bus. When drivers move too quickly and aren’t cautious, accidents can happen.  On a road with two-way traffic, cars traveling in both directions should stop because students may be crossing the road.  
3. Finally, as we enter the winter months and prepare for the end of daylight savings time, more students will be waiting for the bus in the dark.  Exercise extra caution, especially in the mornings.  
During National School Bus Safety Week, we want to thank everyone who has a hand in providing safe transportation to Hardeman County’s students, especially our bus drivers and technicians. You have a direct impact on Hardeman County’s vision of “Preparing for the Future, One Child at a Time.”