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By Stanley Abraham, President of SGA Safety Education Services, an onsite service designed to help protect small- and medium-size businesses and their employees from work hazards and fines through safety education programs at your facility and jobsite inspections. Maine owned and operated, SGA offers over 15 years of experience in the occupational safety field.

It’s that time of year again. Soon we will be seeing the big yellow buses and kids excited (or not) about the start of the new school year. As employers in a state where almost all of our employees drive vehicles to work and for work, here are some safety practices for all of us to think about and share with employees.

  • Slow down and obey all traffic laws and speed limits.
  • Red overhead flashing lights, possibly accompanied by an extended stop arm, tell you the school bus is stopped to load/unload children. It is illegal to pass a stopped school bus with red lights flashing on school property, on any undivided highway or parking area in Maine. If you are approaching a stopped school bus from either direction, with its red lights flashing, you must bring your vehicle to a complete stop in front or rear of the school bus and wait while children are getting on or off the bus. You must not proceed until the bus resumes motion or until signaled by the school bus driver to do so. Be alert and ready to stop.
  • Prepare to stop for school buses when overhead yellow lights are flashing.
  • Drive with caution if you see the yellow hazard warning lights are flashing on a moving or stopped school bus.
  • Watch for children walking in the street, especially where there are no sidewalks.
  • Watch for children playing and gathering near bus stops.
  • Watch for children arriving late for the bus, who may dart into the street without looking for traffic.
  • When backing out of a driveway, watch for children walking or biking to school.

This is a busy time of year, it can also be a dangerous one as the days start to get shorter and mornings are darker. Fewer daylight hours can make it dangerous and harder for motorists to see young students.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that based on the Non-Traffic Surveillance (NTS) system, an aver­age of 1,898 people were killed each year in non-traffic motor vehicle crashes during the 3-year period 2012 to 2014. About a third (34%) of those people killed were non-occupants, such as pedestrians and bicyclists. Additionally, on average, 92,000 people were injured in these crashes each year, of which a third (33%) were non-occupants.

Let’s keep our little ones safe as they head out for another year of learning. Please pay attention, slow down, and be watchful of our school kids.

Questions?

For more information on safety programs and tools designed to keep your workers educated and safe, and to help lower workman’s compensation insurance rates, contact SGA Safety Education Services today.