Staying safe when heading back to school

As another school year begins, police and school officials are working to keep students safe going to and from school.

Some safety tips for drivers include paying attention to the road and avoiding distractions such as texting and talking on cell phones.

Don't forget to follow the speed limits near and around schools.

One of the most important things to remember is to always stop when buses are dropping off and picking up children.

"When the school buses stop, and they have their lights flashing and signs out, you have to stop. There are no exceptions. If we catch you not stopping for a bus, we will cite you for it," said Kirksville School Resource Officer Rich Harden.

Pedestrians always have the right of way, but should always look both ways before crossing the street.

Here are more safety tips to help keep your kids safe this school year.

Bus Safety:

If children ride a bus to school, they should plan to get to their bus stop early and stand away from the curb while waiting for the bus to arrive. Other safety steps for students include:

Board the bus only after it has come to a complete stop and the driver or attendant has instructed you to get on.

Only board your bus and never an alternate one.

Always stay in clear view of the bus driver and never walk behind the bus.

Cross the street at the corner obeying traffic signals and staying in the crosswalk.

Never dart out into the street, or cross between parked cars.

Motorists should know what the yellow and red bus signals mean:

Yellow flashing lights - bus is getting ready to stop, and motorists should slow down and be prepared to stop.

Red flashing lights and an extended stop sign - bus is stopped and children are getting on or off.

Drivers in both directions must stop their vehicles and wait until the lights go off, the stop sign is back in place, and the bus is moving before they can start driving again.


If children ride in a car to get to school, they should always wear a seat belt. Younger children should use car seats or booster seats until the lap-shoulder belt fits properly (typically for children ages 8-12 and over 4'9"), and ride in the back seat until they are at least 13 years old.

If a teenager is going to drive to school, parents should mandate that they use seat belts. Drivers should not use their cell phone to text or make calls, and should avoid eating or drinking while driving.

All drivers should be aware that children are out walking or biking to school and slow down, especially in residential areas and school zones.

Biking and Walking:

Students who ride their bike to school should always wear a helmet, obey all traffic signs and ride on the right in the same direction as traffic.

Those who walk to school should only cross the street at an intersection, and use a route along which the school has placed crossing guards. Parents should walk young children and children taking new routes or attending new schools at least for the first week to ensure they know how to get there safely. Thereafter, arrange for the kids to walk to school with a friend or classmate.