As summer vacation comes to a close, students across Missouri are preparing to begin their 2018-2019 school year.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol reminds drivers this brings a change in traffic patterns due to school buses and parents taking their children to school will join other motorists on the road and affect the morning and afternoon commute.
It is critical for drivers to be alert, especially near school zones, playgrounds, and bicycle paths. Whatever route you drive, expect this additional traffic and prepare by allowing extra time to reach your destination.
In 2017, five people were killed and 401 people were injured in 869 traffic crashes involving school buses. Parents are encouraged to talk to their children about riding a bus, walking, or driving to school in a safe manner. If they ride a bike, please make sure they wear a helmet and follow traffic laws.
Most traffic crashes involving young drivers (under the age of 21) in 2017 occurred between 3 and 4 p.m., when school typically lets out.
Drivers need to be aware of the increased traffic during this time — and not just in areas around schools. Many of these drivers are young and inexperienced.
Parents: It is important to encourage those young drivers to remember driving is a full-time job. Using a cell phone, texting, or adjusting the radio can be the distraction that leads to a traffic crash. Texting is against the law for anyone younger than the age of 22.
Missouri law states that on a two-lane road, if a school bus is stopped and displaying warning signals while loading or unloading children, drivers must stop when meeting and following the bus. However, it is only necessary to stop on a four-lane highway when following the bus.
Drivers, when you see a stopped school bus, stay alert and follow the law. Children may not be aware of traffic and dart unexpectedly into the roadway.
The only 100 percent survivable crash is the one that never happens.
Make sure everyone in the vehicle is properly restrained in a seat belt or child restraint. Every day as we travel on Missouri’s roadways, we trust that every driver on the road is going to obey the speed limit, pay attention, and drive sober. “Don’t Violate The Trust.”
For more news, follow the Missouri State Highway Patrol on Twitter @MSHPTrooperGHQ.