New CMS Bus Rider Safety Procedures

Three-step hand signal system now in place
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It’s a pet peeve of mine. Every morning I watch as drivers try to “speed” past school buses that are either in the process of stopping or are already stopped to pick up kids. I realize we’re all in a hurry and there are places we need to be, but children’s lives are put in jeopardy when someone thinks they have “just enough time” to get past a bus before they are held up. I’ve never sat more than 30 seconds waiting for children to get on or off a bus—so saying it takes “too much time” to stop is not a valid excuse. In the Charlotte area, several children were injured in the past year as a result of these drivers passing stopped school buses.

Effective Jan. 1, CMS has put new safety procedures in place for bus riders. Here’s the rundown:

  • During the morning, students are to stay on their side of the road, at least 12 feet away from traffic.
  • They wait for the bus to stop and the stop arm to extend. The driver will hold his left palm up for the riders to wait for traffic to stop.
  • Riders should stop, look for traffic both ways, and then check again. When it is okay to cross the driver will give a “thumbs up” signal and then point in the direction for kids to walk across the street.
  • Riders need to look for moving traffic both ways as they walk directly across the road.
  • Cross 12 feet in front of the bus in full view of the driver. Be careful in the “danger zone” (see infographic) and board the bus without delay.

The afternoon procedures are similar, only in reverse order for getting off the bus.

Additional notes:

  • Riders must look both ways for moving cars. If a car is moving, they are not to step into the road.
  • Take out ear buds before attempting to board or get off the bus, and do not talk or text.
  • Parents should follow these same steps if they are crossing the road with their child.