At this time of year, there are two vehicles the average driver works around on the roadways: a school bus and a garbage truck. Both tend to slow traffic while they perform their necessary duties, and both are at risk of accidents if drivers are distracted.
Every year during “Back to School” season, Waste Management retrains and reminds employees that as professional drivers, the community they serve depends on them to help maintain a safe environment for students traveling to and from school.
“As a company sharing the same roadways with our community, we believe it is our responsibility to promote safety not only to our drivers but our customers too,” said John Wohlrab, government relations director of Waste Management. “We would like to pass along driving tips to help promote a safe Back to School season.”
· Remember that all 50 states have a law making it illegal to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children.
· All 50 states require that traffic in both directions stop on undivided roadways when students are entering or exiting a school bus.
· The area 10 feet around a school bus is where children are in the most danger of being hit. Stop your car far enough from the bus to allow children the necessary space to safely enter and exit the bus.
· Watch out for children and be prepared to stop. Although you may see them, they may not see you.
· Cover your brake when you see children. They are easily distracted and may not stop to look for traffic before darting across the street.
· Expect the unexpected. A child’s field of vision is not fully developed so they may not be able to tell how close you really are to them.
· Be ready to react whenever you see children near your vehicle. Children are not only small but they are fast too. They can move into harm’s way in mere seconds. It takes 2.2 seconds for the average adult to react to something not anticipated.
· Keep your eye out for bicyclists. There are more bikes on the roads of those children opting to ride to and from school in the early morning and afternoon hours.
· Be alert around school parking lots. Teenage drivers are generally inexperienced and can often be distracted by friends, phones, music, and so on therefore increasing the potential for accidents.
· All passengers should wear a seat belt and/or an age- and size-appropriate car safety seat or booster seat.
· Do not text or talk on your cell phone while driving.
· Slow down and obey all traffic laws and speed limits.
· Be alert for school zones that have a reduced speed limit at designated times of the day.
· Watch for school buses. Red flashing lights and an extended stop arm indicate the school bus is stopping to load or unload children. State law requires you to stop.
· Keep an eye out for children walking in the street, especially where there are no sidewalks.
· Be alert for children playing and gathering near bus stops and for those who may dart into the street without looking for traffic.
· When backing out of a driveway or leaving a garage, watch for children walking or biking to school.
· When driving in neighborhoods or school zones, watch for young people who may be in a hurry to get to or away from school and may not be thinking about getting there safely.
“Waste Management is dedicated to safety. Safety of our employees, our customers and their communities are always a top priority,” said Wohlrab. “Please drive carefully now that school is back in session and when you drive around garbage trucks, please give them extra consideration. We want all of our employees to return home safely to their families every night.”