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While school bus safety is important every day, the third full week in October (October 18 – 22, 2010) has been designated National School Bus Safety Week. It is a continuing education program designed to promote school bus safety and remind children and their families about safety around school buses. This year’s theme is "Cross in view, it’s the right thing to do." All across the U.S., families depend on school buses for safe, reliable transportation to and from school. Safety while getting to/from the bus stop and while riding the bus is extremely important. Children need to learn these safety tips:

  • Arrive at the bus stop five minutes early.

  • Stand in a safe place and at least five giant steps (10 feet) away from the edge of the road while waiting for the bus.

  • Wait until the bus stops, the door opens and the driver give the okay before stepping onto the bus.

  • Stay in your seat and sit quietly while on the bus.

  • Check both ways before stepping off the bus. Walk in front of the bus; never behind it.

  • Be careful that clothing with drawstrings and book bags with straps or dangling objects do not get caught in the handrail or door when exiting the bus.

  • If something falls under or near the bus, tell the driver. Never try to pick it up yourself. If you see something under or near the bus, such as an animal, be sure to alert the driver.

And, here are a few safety reminders for drivers:

  • Always stop for a stopped school bus.

  • If the arm on the bus is extended, you must stop.

  • Never speed in school zones, or in residential areas where children may be present.

  • The "Danger Zone" is the area on all sides of the bus where children are in the most danger of not being seen by drivers.

  • Be extra careful when a school bus is loading and unloading passengers. Pedestrian fatalities account for approximately three times as many school bus-related fatalities when compared to school bus occupant fatalities.

While it is ideal for an adult to be present at the bus stop until children are safely onboard or off, this is not always feasible. Reminding children of the 10 foot "danger zone" – where the driver can’t see them, will help ensure their safety. Children need to be "defensive pedestrians" as much as drivers need to be "defensive drivers." School bus safety is everyone’s responsibility. Always be alert around school buses, bus stops, crossing busy streets and traffic in general. For more school bus safety tips go here.

Mark Bello has thirty-three years experience as a trial lawyer and twelve years as an underwriter and situational analyst in the lawsuit funding industry. He is the owner and founder of Lawsuit Financial Corporation which helps provide legal finance cash flow solutions and consulting when necessities of life litigation funding is needed by plaintiffs involved in pending, personal injury, litigation. Bello is a Justice Pac member of the American Association for Justice, Sustaining and Justice Pac member of the Michigan Association for Justice, Business Associate of the Florida, Tennessee, and Colorado Associations for Justice, a member of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan and the Injury Board.

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