FORT GREGG-ADAMS, Va. — As students have returned to school, the school buses have returned to the installation’s streets and neighborhoods.
“The Provost Marshal’s Office reminds the community that keeping children safe is everyone's responsibility,” said Ofc. Michele Davis.
So far, Fort Gregg-Adams law enforcement officers have seen drivers not paying enough attention to the buses making their rounds in the mornings and afternoons, she said.
Drivers should slow down and be alert while driving through a neighborhood, school zone or bus stop. Make sure to obey the rules when approaching a school bus.
A citation involving a school bus issued on the installation comes with a mandatory court appearance, she added, noting the court is in Richmond.
“We try to go around to the housing areas just to show a presence and tell people what the lights on the buses really mean,” Davis said.
Yellow flashing lights on a school bus mean slow down — don’t speed up — because the bus is preparing to stop. There are likely students waiting to get on the bus or parents waiting nearby to pick up children.
“You’ve got kids running across the street, trying not to miss the bus as well,” she said.
Red flashing lights mean stop and wait at least 20 feet behind the bus, because children are getting on or off. Stay stopped until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop-arm is withdrawn and the bus begins moving.
Unless there's a barrier separating two sides of the street, both directions of traffic must stop for a school bus. For example, on Sisisky Boulevard, all traffic moving both ways must stop if a bus has the red lights and gate up, Davis said.
The only time traffic moving in the opposite direction does not have to stop is where the road is physically divided by a barrier, she said. For example, there is a median on Gregg Avenue and Valor Circle near the guard shack.
At an intersection, traffic moving in all directions must stop while the bus is loading and unloading, Davis said.
Even when there is no bus, or when a bus’s lights aren’t flashing, drivers must always watch for children, particularly in the morning or mid-afternoon before and after school hours. As the season changes, drivers must be careful during low light or night conditions in the mornings and evenings, she added.
For children waiting for and boarding school buses, recommendations include:
- Stay five steps away from the curb.
- Always wait until the bus comes to a complete stop and the bus driver signals to board.
- Face forward after finding a seat on the bus.
- Exit the bus after it stops and look left-right-left for cars before crossing a street.
“Just be vigilant about your kids, and be aware of what they are doing,” Davis said.