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Virginia Highway Safety Office News Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Media Contact: Melanie Stokes
Department of Motor Vehicles
(804) 367-6623

Motorists Encouraged to Share the Road as School Begins
Be Aware of Increase in Pedestrians, Bus Traffic

RICHMOND - As students across Virginia return to school, motorists should be prepared for more traffic, school buses and pedestrians on the roads.

In Virginia alone, there were 757 school bus crashes and 295 school bus occupants injured in 2007. "Drivers are reminded to be cautious in our neighborhoods and within all designated school zones," said John Saunders, Director of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Virginia Highway Safety Office. "Most school bus-related fatalities occur while children are getting on or off the bus, so drivers need to always be attentive, and obey the posted speed limits and school bus signals."

Motorists are reminded that passing a school bus is prohibited when it is stopped to load or unload passengers, unless a physical barrier or unpaved median separates the traffic going in either direction.

Here are some additional back-to school safety reminders:

  • Yellow flashing lights on a school bus mean the bus is preparing to stop and load or unload children. Motorists need to slow down and prepare to stop.
  • Red flashing lights and an extended stop arm mean the school bus is stopped and children are boarding or exiting the bus. Motorists must come to a complete stop a safe distance from the bus and wait until the bus begins moving before they start driving again.
  • Drivers are required to travel 25 mph in a school zone when indicated by a sign or signal.
  • Remember, pedestrians always have the right-of-way. When encountering a pedestrian, motorists need to slow down and be prepared to stop.
  • Motorists should be alert for pedestrians when making a right or left turn on red. Pedestrians should be allowed to completely cross the street before a driver begins turning.

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