School Bus Safety Message

December 17, 2018

Dear Worthington Community,

As a learning community, we are committed to providing children with the best education possible, and part of this mission is a focus on the safety of all, not only when they are here at school, but also while they are being transported from home to school and back. More than 25 million children ride the yellow bus every day and the most recent events serve as a reminder for our community to keep school bus safety in the forefront.

In order to ensure that all Worthington students understand bus stop safety and have the opportunity to ask questions, all classroom teachers reviewed safety tips during the beginning of the school year.  We work with our two committed bus drivers to ensure they are addressing safety protocols with all students.  Finally, we feel it’s important to share safety guidelines with our larger community.  Below you will find some safety tips to ensure all drivers on the road are aware of the bus safety and protocols.

We are deeply committed to the safety of all children. Please contact me with any questions.

Warmly,
Gretchen Morse-Dobosz
Principal / Superintendent
Worthington School District

School BusSafety Tips

An article written in patch.com highlights the importance of bus safety.  Please see the tips below.

Passing a Stopped School Bus (or van) with Flashing Lights

The Law: In Massachusetts, all lanes of traffic in both directions must stop when a school bus is stopped to pick up or drop off kids while traveling along a two-lane road. How do you tell the difference between stopped and stopped to pick up kids?

Yellow school buses have flashing red lights and stop signs that fold out from the driver’s side. School pupil transport vehicles, like vans, station wagons, or family sedans, have flashing red lights and SCHOOL BUS signs on top. Drivers use these warning signals when letting pupils on and off. If a school bus or a school pupil transport vehicle has its lights flashing and a stop sign extended, you must stop. It is the law. It does not matter which side of the road you are traveling on. Remain stopped until the lights stop flashing or the stop sign folds back.

This also applies to one-way streets no matter how many lanes of traffic. On a four-lane road with at least two lanes of traveling moving in the opposite direction or a divided highway only motorists going in the same direction as the bus are required to stop. Drivers also should stop at least 100 feet from the bus when they see the bus’ flashing lights and stop sign arm extended in order to let students cross the road safely. (It’s the law to stay 100 feet behind a bus).

The only exception to this law is if a school bus has stopped on the other side of a divided highway with a barrier between travel directions. In this case, you do not have to stop.

School bus drivers also can report the license plate numbers of vehicles that illegally pass them to police.

The Penalty: Failing to stop or illegally passing a stopped school bus with flashing lights can result in $250 fine in Massachusetts, at minimum. A second offense by a fine of not less than $500. That fine can go up to $2,000 and a suspended license of up to a year for subsequent offenses (MGL 90-14).

Speeding in a School Zone

The Law: Under state law, the speed limit for all school zones is 20 mph, regardless of what the speed is for the road the school is on between school hours. Speeding isn’t the only thing prohibited in a school zone, either. Motorists are not allowed to pass while in a school zone, and pedestrians have the right-of-way in a school zone crosswalk.

Fun fact? Unless they’re on a “limited access highway,” school bus drivers can’t go faster than 40 miles per hour if they’re transporting kids. Period. (MGL 90-17).

The Penalty: State law says that if you get caught speeding in a School Zone you can get fined two times the amount currently in effect for the violation issued. (MGL 90-17).

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2 Comments

  1. It would be helpful – giving clearer warning to drivers – to publish actual school hours, and days, especially on the signage along the road near the school.

    “When children present” is far too vague. Example: If a 17-year-old is standing at the front entrance to the school on the Fourth of July, do drivers need to slow to 20 mph?

    Thank you, and I look forward to hearing more on this issue.

    1. Gretchen Morse-Dobosz says:

      Thank you for your question. The school hours at R.H. Conwell are 8:30-3:10. Currently, the town of Worthington has signs running north and south on Rt. 112 stating, “School Zone” and “Reduce speed to 20 when kids are present”. We will continue to work with the town to improve visibility of school hours, etc.

      If the 17 year old near the school on the Fourth of July was looking to cross the crosswalk, drivers are expected to stop for all pedestrians when they are in a crosswalk zone.

      Thank you for your comment as we are always looking for ways to improve the safety of our students and community.

      Gretchen Morse-Dobosz
      Superintendent/Principal, R.H. Conwell School
      Worthington, MA 01098

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