For some in the Hudson Valley, school is already back in session, and by the end of the week, the rest will be, too.

While much of the focus has been on masking, vaccination status and COVID protocols in the schools, it's important to remember bus safety, as Hudson Valley roads will be packed with them in no time.

Dutchess County Sheriff Adrian 'Butch' Anderson, along with County Executive Marc Molinaro, issued a reminder to residents that can be applied to anyone traveling Hudson Valley roads - 'it is important that drivers exercise caution and follow the rules for school bus safety.'

Being an alert driver simply isn't enough when it comes to school bus safety and caution.  We have to be mindful of what's happening on the roads, on nearby sidewalks, and also follow safety driving laws, specifically, when it comes to school busses.

With the past year and a half, virtual school, adjusted in-school schedules, it is sure to be an adjustment with busses back on the roads at varying times.  It is important to be alert when backing out of your driveway, garage, or parking spot, as you don't know when or what time kids may be heading for the bus.  The same goes when you are returning home, there may be after-school activity busses in the neighborhood at different times.

A few things to be especially mindful of when it comes to school busses on the roads:

  • If a school bus has its red lights on, a motorist is required to come to a complete stop.  This includes divided highways, multiple lane roadways, parking lots and school grounds, either direction.  Red lights = stop!
  • You can be ticketed for passing a stopped school bus, penalties are severe in New York State for this offense.
  • If a school bus has their yellow lights on, that means they are about to stop, so drivers should slow down in preparation, NOT speed up and try and pass the bus.
  • Remember that kids may be standing near the edge of the roadway, or even in the roadway while waiting for the bus, also be aware of children who may be running to catch the bus and not notice cars on the road.
  • You must yield to students in crosswalks.

If you have children riding the bus, don't forget to share the following reminders with them:

  • At the bus stop, kids should stand back from the curb, out of roadways.
  • Avoid rushing by leaving the house for the bus stop five minutes early.
  • Children should never run, or bend down near the bus, due to visibility reasons, and NEVER walk behind the bus at all.
  • When crossing the street in front of the bus, children should wait to make contact with the bus driver and wait for the signal that it is safe to cross.
  • If you have a child walking to and from school, remind them to only cross at marked crosswalks and intersections, utilize  pedestrian pushbuttons when crossing, and avoid using cellphones or other devices that may distract them from the roads.

Here's to a safe school year!

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