Back to school aboard the familiar yellow bus 21,500 students will be passengers CARROLL COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOL BUS ROUTES

August 23, 1993

Carroll County public schools open Tuesday, Sept. 7, 1993, for the 1993-94 school year. Approximately 23,000 students will be attending public school this year and nearly 21,500 of these students will be riding the familiar yellow school bus.

To handle the rapid increase in growth, the Pupil Transportation Department of the Carroll County Board of Education has added four buses and will operate 253 buses that will travel more than 4 million miles to provide daily school transportation this year. Each bus has had a thorough inspection this summer to ensure '' safe and reliable service. In addition, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration, in cooperation with the Pupil Transportation Department, conducts two comprehensive inspections during the school year.

Drivers on all public school buses are thoroughly trained, qualified individuals. During each school year, bus drivers are involved in at least six hours of continuing in-service training programs to improve driving skills and pupil management. New drivers have completed a detailed, comprehensive program including individualized on-road training. All drivers are evaluated an on-board observation on a regular basis.

1) SCHOOL BUS STOP LAW:

Motorists are reminded of the Maryland motor vehicle law that requires the driver of a vehicle to come to a full stop for a school bus loading or unloading pupils with the red warning lights functioning. The state law requires motorists to stay 20 feet from the school vehicle.

The Pupil Transportation Department, in cooperation with Maryland State Police and the state's attorney's office, will continue to emphasize the importance of the stop law and fully prosecute those who violate the red warning lights. Maryland legislation, which became law July 1, 1988, requires Maryland State Police to follow up on complaints and to issue citations.

Motorists are also advised to be aware that newer buses operate with an eight-light warning system rather than the traditional four-light system. These buses flash amber lights at least 100 feet in advance as they approach a stop and do not activate the red lights until they are fully stopped.

With either light system, the message is clear: Prepare to stop and do not run the warning lights.

Many more school bus stops in Carroll County, particularly on state routes, are being constructed using a "loading zone" procedure. In such cases, buses pull completely off the traveled portion of the road to pick up passengers who do not cross the road. Buses activate only the right turn signal and motorists may pass the bus on the left during this time.

2) PUPIL TRANSPORTATION POLICIES:

The pupil transportation system in Carroll County is operated under policies and guidelines established by the Carroll County Board of Education. The Pupil Transportation Department emphasizes the following policies for parental information:

a. Public school pupils, to be eligible for transportation, must live one mile or more from school. Students who are transported are expected, where necessary, to walk these same distances to bus routes or bus stops. This walking distance will not apply to students living on unimproved roads or to handicapped pupils.

b. Pupils may not ride buses other than those to which they are regularly assigned.

c. All pupils who are eligible shall be provided transportation to attend the school within their appropriate attendance area.

d. Bus stops should be no less than one-quarter of a mile apart.

e. Pupils should be at the bus stop five minutes before pickup time.

f. Pupils who must cross the road shall do so at a point approximately 10 feet in front of the standing bus without unnecessary delay and only after looking both ways.

3) THE DAILY DOZEN OF BUS RIDING:

1. Be at the bus stop five minutes before pickup time.

2. Walk safely to the bus stop and wait in a safe, orderly manner.

3. Watch your step and use the hand rail when getting on and off the bus.

4. Take your seat promptly and remain seated for the ride to and from school.

5. Sit in the seat facing front; keep your feet, books and other articles out of the aisle.

6. Always keep your hands and head inside the bus.

7. Report any damage that you see to the driver.

8. Eating, smoking or using vulgar language is not permitted.

9. Your conduct should be quiet and orderly so the driver is not distracted from the important job of driving.

10. Your driver is responsible for the safe operation of the bus; listen to the driver's instructions.

11. Wait until the bus has come to a stop before leaving your seat.

12. Cross 10 feet in front of the bus with the warning lights only upon discharge and if you live on the opposite side of the road. Be sure to check traffic both ways.

4) PARENTS' RESPONSIBILITY:

a. Be certain that your children arrive at the bus stop on time and are dressed properly for weather and safety conditions.

b. Help your children develop a safe walking route to and from the bus stop.

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