PSA available on safe driving around buses

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The MHS Media Production Department and Middleton Police Department have produced a new public service announcement video about what vehicles should do when approaching a school bus.

The video is only 48 seconds long so please check it out. A special thanks to MHS Media Production coordinator Dea Kruger and Middleton police officers Scott Moen and Jill Tutaj for their help in producing the video.

Earlier this month, the District sent out a communication to all families with children in the District. Staff and students have reported a number of instances where drivers have gone through a school crosswalk while a student was in it and we thought now was a good time to send a reminder to families about driving safety.

Drivers are reminded to:

  • Yield to pedestrians when crossing a sidewalk.

  • Yield to pedestrians who have started crossing at an intersection or crosswalk on a "walk" signal or a green light, if there is no walk signal.

  • Not overtake and pass any vehicle that stops at an intersection or crosswalk to permit a pedestrian or bicyclist to cross the roadway safely.

  • Stay attentive at all times. There have been numerous reports of drivers being on their phones when they go through crosswalks illegally.

Drivers are reminded that fines range from $88.80 to $175.30 for failure to yield the right of way to a pedestrian.

We would also encourage you to take some time to talk with your children about their expectations as pedestrians. We have heard from many drivers who say our students enter crosswalks without looking and don't even watch for vehicles when in the road.

Pedestrians are reminded to:

  • Yield to drivers when crossing a road where there is no intersection or crosswalk or where the pedestrian does not have a green or "walk" signal and where vehicles have a green signal.

  • Not suddenly move into the path of a closely approaching vehicle that does not have sufficient time to yield for a pedestrian.

  • Don't cut between parked buses in school loading zones. Only use marked crosswalks.

  • Stay off your phone when entering or in a crosswalk. Don't text, either.

Meanwhile, MCPASD bus drivers have reported an increase in the number of vehicles illegally passing school buses or stopping abruptly due to not paying attention.

Drivers who see a stop sign come out and the lights activated on a school bus are required by state law to stop at least 20 feet from the bus in all directions unless on a highway that is divided. Drivers are not to proceed until the bus resumes moving and has turned off its red warning lights.

A vehicle owner or driver can be cited for failing to stop for a school bus, with a fine of $240 to $326.50 and the loss of four points. An officer doesn't need to witness the violation if the school bus driver reports it to a law enforcement agency within 24 hours.

Last year six children were killed nationally by people who ignored this law.

The MHS Media Production Department and the Middleton Police Department released a 55-second public service announcement about failing to stop for buses two years ago. It is available on YouTube:

The School Bus Safety Company recently released five public service announcements on this topic. Each one is approximately 30 seconds.

The National Highway Safety Traffic Administration has a number of documents and videos on school buses and safety available to families on its website. Another good source for information is the American School Bus Council website.

Please take extra time when driving to work or dropping off any children at schools this year. We realize the middle school construction has made driving more challenging so give yourself 5-10 extra minutes if you are driving by Kromrey or Glacier Creek.