As school districts across the state begin a new school year, it is important for drivers to remember to be aware of and cautious around school buses and to drive attentively.

Every day in Kentucky, 8,975 school buses transport over 385,000 students to and from school.

“Student safety is our biggest concern,” said Elisa Hanley, the Kentucky Department of Education’s (KDE’s) Pupil Transportation branch manager. “Taking the time to teach our community about bus safety procedures is one of our highest priorities because our goal is for each student to get to school and home safely – not just at the start of school, but every day.”

It is especially important for drivers to be cautious when students are exiting school buses. KDE and the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety have compiled a list of tips to consider when making your daily commutes.

  • Red flashing lights on a school bus indicate students are either entering or exiting the bus. Do not attempt to drive around it!
  • Stop at least 20 feet from a bus displaying red flashing lights or that has its stop arm extended. You must stop for a bus when approaching both from the rear and from the opposite direction on undivided roads.
  • Pay attention to pedestrians – watch for school crossing guards and walkers – and reduce speeds in and around school zones.
    • It’s the law to stop for pedestrians – and the law applies to all street corners and for both marked and unmarked crosswalks.
  • Alter your route or schedule to avoid school buses. This will improve safety by reducing the chance of putting children at risk.

For more information on bus safety, KDE and the Office of Highway Safety have produced a variety of other resources that are free to download.