As fall approaches parents are preparing their child to return to school. While shopping for pens, pencils, school uniforms, etc., parents can also talk to their child about bus safety and refresh them on the rules and regulations.Berks County Intermediate Unit (BCIU) Transportation Department, Chris Celmer, Program Administrator, Operations, said the biggest tip he can give students is how to get on and off the bus.

"We try to stress loading and unloading," he said. Celmer said children should stay on the sidewalk, not to close to the curb, while waiting for the bus.

According to the National Safety Council, children should wait until the bus has stopped and the door opens before stepping onto the roadway.

The National Safety Council also states that children should use the hand rail when stepping onto the bus.

When getting off the bus, children should, whiling walking in front of the bus, remain at a safe distant (10 feet) so the bus driver can see them crossing the street.

As for book bags and other items on the bus, students should secure their items or hold them.

Other school bus safety tips from the National Safety Council include:

Behavior on the school bus

€¢ When on the bus, find a seat and sit down. Loud talking or other noise can distract the bus driver and is not allowed.

€¢ Never put head, arms or hands out of the window.

€¢ Keep aisles clear - books or bags are tripping hazards and can block the way in an emergency

€¢ Before you reach your stop, get ready to leave by getting your books and belongings together.

€¢ At your stop, wait for the bus to stop completely before getting up from your seat. Then, walk to the front door and exit, using the handrail.

Correct ways to cross the street

€¢ Children should always stop at the curb or the edge of the road and look left, then right, and then left again before crossing.

€¢ They should continue looking in this manner until they are safely across.

€¢ If student's vision is blocked by a parked car or other obstacle, they should move out to where drivers can see them and they can see other vehicles - then stop, and look left, then right, and then left again.

Pa. State School Bus Stopping Laws from BCIU

€¢ When you meet or overtake a stopped school bus with red signal lights flashing and stop arm extended, you must stop.

€¢ When you approach an intersection where a stopped bus with red signal lights flashing and stop arm extended, you must stop.

€¢ You must stop at least ten

(10) feet away from the school bus.

€¢ You must wait until the red lights have stopped flashing and the stop arm has been withdrawn before moving. Do not move until all the children have reached a place of safety.

€¢ You must stop on roadways with painted lines.

€¢ You must stop on roadways with singing divisors.

€¢ Drivers on separate roadways do not have to stop on a highway with clearly defined dividing sections or physical barriers separating the roadways. This only applies when the school bus is on the opposite side of the road.

The BCIU Transportation Department transports regular education students for the following school districts and educational entities: Antietam School District, BCIU Child Care, Berks Career & Technology Center (BCTC), Muhlenberg School District, Reading School District, Tulpehocken Area School District, and YMCA Day Care.

The BCIU Transportation Department also provides busing services for early intervention and school-age special education students of the 18 public school districts of Berks County.

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