Back to school means increased safety for drivers

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- Members of the 99th Air Base Wing Safety office want to remind drivers to take increased care during the back to school season.

According to the Department of Transportation, 23 million children ride the school bus each year. As many as 12,000 of those 23 million children are injured each year in school bus accidents. A majority of these injuries are minor, but as many as 11 children a year die as a result of a school bus accident.

The 27th of August marks the official first day of school for the traditional nine-month calendar year in Clark County for 2012-2013.

Whether you are new to the area or a have been here for a couple years, it is crucial to know the importance of bus safety.

Most bus related incidents occur when children are approaching or leaving the bus. Bus drivers cannot see in the spots they like to refer to as the danger zone. A danger zone extends 15 feet around the bus and includes the wheels.

A good rule of thumb when it comes to children riding the bus would be to have them wait six feet away from the curb until the bus driver has come to a complete stop and that the bus driver gives them the okay to enter onto the bus.

Remind children never to walk behind the bus even if it's to retrieve something they dropped in a hurry. If something is dropped around the bus the best plan of action would be to inform the bus driver before walking in the danger zone.

Drivers must also be alert for children who ride the bus. Slowing down while driving during early morning hours and late afternoon hours, could potentially save the lives of children who run out into the street to catch a bus when running late.

Remember to allot yourself an extra couple of minutes to get to work in the mornings in preparation of slowing down in school zones and stopping for school buses. When you see the school bus with red lights flashing and the stop sign out on the bus you must stop if you are on a two lane roadway or you are on a multiple lane roadway traveling in the same direction as the bus.

There are several resources to get information on school related safety tips such as CCSD.NET, which is the official website for Clark County School District and NHTSA.GOV for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

With cautious drivers we can make this school year a safe one.