National School Bus Safety Week

This year’s National School Bus Safety Week (NSBSW) takes place October 18-22, 2021. The Northeast Florida Community Traffic Safety Program is highlighting school bus safety tips and information to share. Please join us in advocating for school bus safety to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities on our roadways.

Every year, approximately 440,000 public school buses travel more than 4 billion miles and daily transport 24 million children to and from schools and school-related activities. School buses account for an estimated 10 billion student trips each year.*

We would also like to thank all bus drivers and also acknowledge the shortage in our local communities. We appreciate everyone working together to make sure children get to school and back home safely. 

School Bus Safety Rules for Drivers

  • Learn and obey the school bus laws in your state.
  • Be sure to acquaint yourself with the flashing light system that school bus drivers use to alert motorists.
  • Yellow flashing lights mean that the school bus is preparing to stop. Motorists should slow down and be ready to stop their vehicles.
  • Red flashing lights and an extended stop arm indicate that the school bus has stopped, and children are boarding or exiting.
  • On a two-lane road, all vehicles in both directions must stop.
  • On a divided highway with a raised median, unpaved space, or a physical barrier of at least five feet, vehicles traveling in the opposite direction are not required to stop.
  • On a divided highway where no median or barrier exists, all vehicles are mandated to stop.

School Bus Safety Reminders for Students

  • Arrive early.
  • Don’t push or cut in line.
  • Stay out of the “danger zone,” 10 steps away from the bus.
  • Wait for the bus driver to open the door before trying to get on.
  • Keep aisle clear of your backpack, bag, or books.
  • Talk quietly during the entire bus ride.
  • Keep your hands, arms, and head inside the bus at all times.
  • Walk in front of the bus to cross the street, never behind it.

National Coalition for Safer Roads introduced the theme Expect the Unexpected. Know the Danger Zone. Click here to check out what they have to offer this year.

Additional School Bus Safety Information and Resources for Drivers and Children:

*source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Buckle Up Buddy Heart

Sweetheart Craft for Valentine’s Day

Make your own Buckle Up Buddy Heart Valentine!

We are bringing some fun back this year for Valentine’s Day. It’s time to get crafty with the kiddos (or for those of us who are just a kid at heart). Don’t be afraid of pink and red and lots of hearts for this special safety craft.

You and your family or school class can make these easy Buckle Up Buddy Hearts. The arms and legs bounce and jiggle… make us smile and want to giggle while remembering the importance of buckling up!

This is a cute DIY craft for any time of year. Kids can make a Buckle Up Buddy Heart for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or as a birthday card. In addition to being a fun art project, it also sends a positive traffic safety message. Occupant protection is always a primary concern. All drivers and passengers should be properly restrained with a lap and shoulder seat belt, and children should be correctly strapped into the right car seat that fits their size.

Simply download this free printable Buckle Up Buddy Heart Valentine craft sheet and follow the instructions. 

Buckle Up Buddy Heart – Valentine Craft
Template by Northeast Florida DOT District Two

Community Traffic Safety Team

SUPPLIES:
• white card stock (or heavy paper)
• crayons or markers
• glitter or glitter glue (optional)
• scissors
• glue or glue stick

DIRECTIONS:
1. Download and print the free template provided above.
2. Color and decorate the hearts.
3. Cut out all the pieces.
4. Fold arms and leg strips like an accordion.
5. Glue the arms and legs onto the big heart.
6. Glue the small hearts on for the hands and feet.

You can write a personalized message on the back of your Valentine card. We like, “Be Mine. Be Safe. Be Buckled Up.” Don’t forget to give your special Buckle Up Buddy Heart to someone you love. Or leave it in the car as a reminder to all those you love to wear their seat belt for every car ride.

Illegal School Bus Passing Fines Doubled

Effective January 1, 2021, the penalties for failure to stop for a school bus in Florida has doubled. Motorists should always follow the law and drive carefully – especially when driving in school zones and around school buses.

The penalty for failure to stop for a school bus with its stop-arm extended and flashing red lights activated increased to $200 from $100. For a subsequent offense within a five-year period, the motorist will receive a suspended license for no less than 190 days and no more than a year.

The School Bus Safety bill also increases the fine for passing a school bus on the right-hand side, where children are loading and unloading, to $400 from the previous fine of $200. Motorists convicted of a second offense within a five-year period will lose their driver’s license for no less than one year and no more than two.

Mobile Devices Must Be Hands-Free While Driving

Reminder: The Wireless Communications While Driving Law, effective October 1, 2019 prohibits the use of a wireless communications device in a handheld manner while driving in a designated school crossing, school zone, or active work zone area. Violators commit a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a moving violation, that includes a base $60 fine, not including court costs or other fees, and will have 3 points assessed against the driver license.

Please help protect the children in your community and share these important traffic safety laws and school bus safety tips:

School’s Open – Drive Carefully Poster to Print and Share

Additional School Bus Safety Information and Tips

Great school bus safety resources are available online here:
Northeast Florida Traffic Safety Program – School Bus Safety
Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles – School Bus Safety