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Staying Safe on the Road


Follow the law, keep students safe

All motorists must stop at least 20 feet from the front and rear of the school bus and remain stopped until the bus is put in motion.

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All motorists are required by law to stop when the red lights on buses are flashing. To pass a bus when the right lights are on is, by far, the greatest threat to the safety of the students. The refusal to stop for a school bus when the flashing red lights are in operation is punishable by a traffic ticket and fine of up to $1,000. Motorists should be aware that the red flashing lights and the stop sign might be engaged shortly after the bus’ amber lights are turned on. All drivers should decrease their speed and be prepared to stop when they see a school bus beginning to slow down and when students are present on the roadside.

Buses and Traffic Flow

Motorists have an obligation to keep students safe during on-loading and off-loading. School buses display a flashing stop sign and red lights to indicate when motorists should not pass them. This is to ensure that students can safely cross in front of the bus if necessary.

Two Lane Undivided Highway/Street

Four Lane Undivided Highway/Street

Divided Highway/Street

On a divided highway or street, motorists traveling in the same direction of a school bus must stop at least 20 feet from the rear of the school bus and remain stopped until the bus is put in motion. Motorists on the other side of a physical barrier or unpaved area of the divided highway or street are not required to stop.

Student Pedestrians

Staggering Statistics

No matter the location—whether it’s in the classroom or on the street—HCPSS values safety as a priority for everyone. Safe Kids Worldwide reports that high-school students age 15–19 make up half of all underage pedestrian fatalities. They have twice the death rate of younger children. Often in these accidents, it is because the teens are distracted by texting, handheld games, music or talking on the phone while they are walking. Statistics show that 1 in 5 high school teens cross the street while engaged in a distracting behavior. Maryland is in the top 10 states with the greatest number of pedestrian fatalities among youth 12–19-years-old.

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Get Tips From The Howard County Government On Walk to School Staples  

Tips to Stay Safe

  • Put away your device before crossing the street. Never walk into the street without first looking both ways to make sure there is no oncoming traffic.
  • Make eye contact with drivers. This will ensure that you see them and they see you.
  • Cross at street corners with crosswalks and wait for the signal to walk before crossing.
  • If you need to use your device, stop and do so in a safe place, not in the middle of the road.
  • Walk on the sidewalk and watch out for cars that are turning or pulling in/backing up from driveways.
  • If you are wearing headphones, pull them out of your ears or turn the volume down before crossing the street.
  • Be predictable. Use crosswalks as often as you can. This is where drivers will be expecting pedestrians.
  • You may not be distracted, but others may be. Be aware, not just of yourself, but of others and don’t be afraid to speak up if someone else is being unsafe.