CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Transportation officials with Kanawha County Schools are stressing the importance of safety around school buses this week.
As part of National School Bus Safety Week, staff members hosted an event Tuesday morning at Grandview Elementary School in Charleston where students were shown a visual of “The Danger Zone” around a bus.
Jimmy Lacy, supervisor of safety and training with Kanawha County Schools, described the zone as a 10 foot rectangle around a bus that should be avoided at all times excepting for when entering and exiting.
“That is the most dangerous for students to be in. Drivers can’t see them as well. They’re close to the bus, close to the tires and that’s when accidents can happen and students can be killed because they’re in that zone,” Lacy said.
The biggest piece of advice is for students to take five giant steps after getting off the bus, Lacy said.
“Make sure they can see their driver. If they have to cross the road, make sure they stop and wait on the driver’s signals,” he said.
Lacy said, fortunately, Kanawha County has not seen any bus-related deaths in recent years involving children, but he warns it can happen.
“I’ve been here for over 30 years and the last student that I know we had hit was in front of a high school with a car. The last student we had killed was back in 1989,” he said.
Transportation officials are also reminding drivers to slow down if they approach a school bus.
“When they see the red lights, they need to stop 20 feet from the bus. They need to wait for the red lights to go out before they can start moving again,” Lacy said.
Kanawha County Schools has used extended arms on school buses as a way to reduce accidents in recent years.