The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

August 21, 2013

Stay alert as school starts

The Commercial-News

---- — Most of Vermilion County’s students headed back to school this week, with the majority of Danville District 118’s students to join them next week.

That means area drivers need to be ready for children out and about — and not paying a lot of attention — as they head for class. Streets around the schools likely will be busier than usual as well.

The real adjustment drivers will need to make will be to the large, yellow school buses that start making their rounds early in the morning, some as early as 6:30 a.m.

The same goes for the hours in the early afternoon when those buses make the return trips to drop off their charges at their homes.

When a school bus stops to pick up a child, and the flashing “Stop” arm is extended, no vehicle should pass it on a city street.

The dangers are obvious. One impatient driver coupled with one child who forgets to look before he heads across the street could add up to a tragedy no one wants to see.

Many bus drivers now work with local police to call in the license plate numbers of offenders.

It would be great if every bus could be equipped with a small, digital camera that activated whenever the “Stop” arm was in use. Photos of the offending vehicle could be forwarded to police, who then could issue the ticket any driver who ignores a school bus’s warnings deserves.

Within a few weeks, everyone will be back in the rhythm of a school day. But now, at the beginning, let’s all use some extra care and caution to make sure no mishaps occur.