CARTERET COUNTY, NC (August 21, 2023) – With the upcoming school year just around the corner, the Carteret County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) is dedicated to raising awareness about vital safety measures to protect students as they travel to and from school.
Every day millions of students use school buses as transportation to and from school. While school buses remain one of the safest modes of transportation, it's crucial to keep in mind several key safety aspects. Sheriff Asa Buck of Carteret County emphasizes the importance of exercising caution whenever school buses are present, helping ensure the safety of all students.
Recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has revealed in the 10-year period from 2012 to 2021 there have been 1,110 people killed in school-transportation related crashes – an average of 111 fatalities per year. Most notably, school-aged pedestrians are more susceptible to accidents between the hours of 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.
“Children often can’t wait to share their day’s experiences with their parents once they step off the school bus,” said Sheriff Buck. “It’s absolutely vital that parents reinforce the safety rules their children learn at school.”
In alignment with the commitment to safety, Sheriff Buck urges all parents to engage in conversations with their children, emphasizing the following safety measures:
- Arrive at the bus stop at least five minutes early.
- Maintain a distance of three giant steps from the curb while waiting for the bus. Board only after the bus has fully stopped, the door has opened, and the driver signals it's safe to enter.
- Always utilize the sidewalk when crossing the street near the bus. Establish eye contact with the driver to ensure visibility.
- Never walk behind the bus and maintain a distance of at least three giant steps when walking beside it.
- Use handrails when entering and exiting the bus, ensuring items like drawstrings and book bags are clear.
- If an item is dropped while the bus is stopped, inform the driver or wait until the bus has moved before retrieving it.
Motorists also play a pivotal role in school safety. Sheriff Buck offers the following reminders for drivers:
- Exercise extreme caution in school zones and remain alert to unpredictable actions of children.
- Drive cautiously if there are no sidewalks, anticipating the possibility of children walking on the road.
- Slow down and prepare to stop when you see flashing yellow school bus lights.
- Never pass a school bus with flashing red lights and an extended stop arm.
- Familiarize yourself with North Carolina's school bus laws.
In addition, Sheriff Buck strongly recommends parents accompany their child along their bus route to practice necessary safety measures, ensuring a secure journey to and from school.
“Safety is a shared responsibility,” added Sheriff Buck. “We encourage parents, students, and drivers alike to play their part in ensuring safe travels.”
For more information and resources on back-to-school safety, please contact the Carteret County Sheriff's Office at (252) 728-8400 or visit their website at www.carteretsheriff.com.