Kentucky rolls out billboards reminding motorists to stop for sc - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Kentucky rolls out billboards reminding motorists to stop for school buses

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Kentucky motorists will soon see this billboard reminder to watch out for stopped school buses Kentucky motorists will soon see this billboard reminder to watch out for stopped school buses

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- As a new school approaches for hundreds of thousands of Kentucky schoolchildren, motorists will soon start seeing reminders across the state to watch out for stopped school buses.

Starting this week, 45 billboards will be displayed across the state, warning drivers of the danger of passing a stopped school bus. The billboards feature an extended stop sign arm on the side of a school bus with the words, “It’s not JUST a stop sign, it’s a child’s life.”

“It is paramount that our children arrive at school and back home safely each day,” said Kentucky Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt. “While stopping for a school bus might be a minor inconvenience for drivers, it could be a matter of life or death for a child. I call on all Kentuckians to be especially cautious around school buses, not just at the beginning of the school year, but anytime they approach these big yellow vehicles.” 

According to the annual National School Bus Loading and Unloading Survey, 75 percent of the school bus-related fatalities occurred when a student was hit by a passing vehicle duringthe 2014-15 year.

While Kentucky has not recorded any such fatalities, bus drivers often see drivers illegally passing their buses as children attempt to get on and off the bus. In a survey by the National Association of the State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services of more than 96,000 school bus drivers in 33 states, drivers recorded 74,421 vehicles illegally passing a stopped school bus. 

The billboard space is being donated by Lamar Advertising Co. of Lexington, Outfront Media of Louisville and Fairway Outdoor Advertising in Eastern Kentucky, while the Kentucky Department of Education is paying for the printing and installation. 

The first 23 billboards will go up in Pikeville, Prestonsburg, Paintsville, Danville, Frankfort, Georgetown, Harrodsburg, Versailles, Lexington, Owensboro and Henderson with other communities to follow the first week of August.

            In Kentucky, it is illegal to pass a stopped school bus in either direction on a two-lane road if the warning lights on the bus are on. School bus drivers use a "flashing signal light system" to alert motorists of pending actions:

  • Yellow flashing lights indicate that the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children. Motorists should slow down and prepare to stop their vehicles.
  • Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate that the bus has stopped, and that children are getting on or off the bus. Motorists must stop their cars and wait until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop sign is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving before they can start moving again.

The billboards are part of a Bus Safety Back to School Campaign undertaken by the Kentucky Department of Education. The campaign website features additional school bus safety resources including a school bus safety pledge, coloring pages and tips for parents. 

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