A new school year is upon us. There are a myriad of legitimate concerns for parents in sending kids to public school, but one of my biggest concerns is just in getting my son to school in one piece. I live in a rural area, and he rides the school bus.
I also live near a middle school and a high school, and there is a lot of school traffic on our road.
It seems that people are getting less and less attentive in their driving, more impatient, and unable to comprehend what is in front of them, and it isn't just phones. So many people don't even realize they aren't stopping for a school bus that is stopped with red flashing lights, an extended stop sign, and a child standing next to the side of the road.
If you see red flashing lights, it is the law to stop in both directions.
And this is not an "Oh sorry, my bad. Was I supposed to stop?" cutesy kind of situation. It matters. Every driver has lives that depend on them and what they do behind the wheel.
Yellow flashing lights signify that a bus is getting ready to stop. Why not stop for a flashing yellow when my child is standing on the side of the road, instead of gunning it and hoping for the best?
No phone call, no text, no appointment and certainly no "quick glance" at your social media notifications is worth killing a child. A whole lot of lives are going to change in that situation, not the least of which is yours. There are probably a lot of people out there that wish they could get just 15 seconds back to change their actions.
On our road, we've had people not stop at all coming towards the bus, or try to stop after they've already passed it, and we've had people from behind the bus lay on the horn and speed around to pass the bus because they didn't want to wait.
In the latter instance, the bus driver blew the horn at the driver, and my eyes popped out of my skull. If you want to get this mama's devil horns to show, go on ahead and speed around my son's school bus. I'm happy to turn you in.
I know what it's like to be in a hurry. It sucks to wait when you have somewhere you need to be. I've been caught up behind a bus that makes several stops in our area, and it's inconvenient. But I promise you that nowhere in the world you are going is worth more than the life of a child. Nowhere.
Several of our kids have to cross the street to get on the bus, and if you speed around it from behind, there is no way you will see a child until it is far too late to stop.
Picture your own child or grandchild, niece or nephew getting on or off the bus. Pretend they are the ones at the mercy of another's distracted driving or impatience.
My son loves riding the bus with his friends and neighbors, and I am getting a toddler off and ready for his day out close to the same time he gets on the bus, so we love his ability to ride the school bus. I wait with him, and the bus driver and I both watch for cars like a hawk when he's getting on.
But I am fearful. We've started waiting at the top of the driveway closest to the house until we can see the bus because I've witnessed a few fender benders in the the morning and afternoon school traffic since we've lived here.
I will start taking him to school if the situation doesn't improve, but I wanted to call attention to this issue. The bus drivers are getting just as fed up as parents are.
Look up, people. I'm seeing a whole new level of distracted driving. Technology is a good thing, but pay attention to what you're doing. Be able to comprehend what is happening in front of you. It can wait, I promise. It can wait. STOP FOR THE SCHOOL BUS.
With love, from a rural mom and neighbor of beloved bus riding children.