School’s back! After a few glorious months of long days, freedom, and fun in the sun, our kids are off to school again for an exciting new year of life and learning. It’s a time of adjustment, one that we want to unfold safely.

For many of us, our children will get to school this fall by way of bus. Fortunately, school buses are among the safest methods of transportation in the world. They have an incredibly low rate of accident and injury.

In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that riding a bus to school is 13 times safer than riding there in a car — and ten times safer than walking!

But on rare occasions, accidents do happen. Studies show that most of the children who have died in a bus-related accident ranged between ages four and seven. Most were pedestrians and were hit by either the bus or by another vehicle illegally passing the bus.

That’s why it’s so important that parents, students, and motorists alike all educate themselves on school bus safety. Let’s take a look at the relevant laws in New Jersey, as well as a few tips for improving safe driving in school zones.

New Jersey School Bus Laws: Rules for School Bus Safety

Traffic violations related to school buses are more difficult to defend against than most. Because children’s lives are so precious and their behavior so unpredictable, New Jersey takes school bus safety very seriously, and the penalties can be steep.

As school swings back into session, take a few moments to review these New Jersey school bus laws:

  • It is illegal to pass a stopped school bus.
  • On undivided roadways, traffic must stop in both directions while children are boarding or unloading from a bus.
  • On divided roadways, traffic on the same side as the bus must stop, while traffic on the other side should reduce speed to 10 mph.
  • New Jersey school bus laws require you to yield the right of way to any pedestrian crossing the road in a school zone when warning lights are on or blinking.
  • Drivers must stop at least 25 feet away from a school bus when its lights are on, its stop sign is displayed, or pedestrians are entering or exiting.

Tips for Safe Driving in School Zones

Consider these helpful hints for safe driving in school zones:

  • Remember that children are unpredictable. They may dart out of neighborhoods or playgrounds without warning.
  • Never blow your horn at a child, even if they’re moving slowly or violating the right of way.
  • Train yourself to associate school buses with caution.
  • A child may cross the road and then decide to run back toward the bus because they forgot something. Watch out for that.
  • Never resume motion until all passengers have safely left the roadway and are sufficiently far away from your vehicle. Even then, proceed slowly.

If you’re a parent, sit your kids down at the beginning of the school year to review school bus safety in detail. They may have forgotten your advice from previous years.

Tips for Safe Driving in School Zones

At The Law Offices of James C. DeZao, P.A., we care about the safety of the kids in our community. Bus accidents are serious and the injuries can be severe. We hope all the drivers in our state will make a commitment to safe driving in school zones this fall.

Please be careful, talk with your children about school base safety, and know that if you need help, ours is a Morris County personal injury law firm you can always turn to.