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A Sign to Stop

Reminders to Practice School Bus Safety

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As the start of the new Bolivar R-1 school year quickly approaches, the Bolivar Police
Department wants to remind local drivers of the importance of stopping for school buses as they
load and unload children.

According to Lt. Roger Barron, drivers must stop for all school buses with flashing lights and
extended “STOP” signs when they’re driving on a two-lane connected roadway.

He said this law applies to all lanes of traffic — those moving in the same direction as the school
bus and those moving in the opposite direction.

“Never pass a bus from either direction on an undivided road if it’s stopped to load or unload
kids,” Barron said.

This law also applies to two-lane streets with a turn lane in the center.

“Some of Bolivar’s major roadways — including Aldrich Road, South Springfield Avenue and
Broadway Street — meet this description,” he said.

Last year, the City of Bolivar placed permanent signs on Aldrich Road to remind drivers they
cannot pass stopped school buses loading and unloading children.

Barron said there are other ways drivers can safely share streets with school buses.

If drivers are behind a bus, Barron said, they need to allow a greater following distance than if
they are behind another vehicle.

“That gives you more time to stop once a school buses’ lights start flashing and it prepares to
come to a full stop,” he said. “And once you see red flashing lights or an extended stop arm,
stop immediately.”

Barron said the area surrounding a school bus is the most dangerous for children.

“Drivers need to stop far enough back to allow kids space to safely enter and exit their buses,”
he said.

During the prime school bus pick up and drop off times, drivers need to always be alert, he said.

“Kids are often unpredictable,” Barron said. “We just don’t know when they might ignore
hazards and take unnecessary risks. And it’s our job as adults to ensure we do all we can to
protect them.”

According to the Bolivar R-1 School District, buses head out to pick up students each morning
around 6 a.m., with schools starting from 7:45 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. Schools dismiss for the day
from 2:45 p.m. to 3:15 p.m., and buses have finished their afternoon routes by around 5 p.m.

Penalties for violating the school bus stop arm can include fines of more than $130. Also,
drivers would have to take time out of their day for a court appearance if no accident occurs as
a result, Barron said.

“If an accident occurs or someone is injured as a result, the consequences can be much more
severe,” he said.

For more information on driver and bus safety, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration website at www.nhtsa.gov.

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