MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - With the start of school just around the corner, WMBF News Speed Patrol is reminding drivers to buckle up, slow down, and be on the lookout for buses headed back on the roads.
For children riding the bus, South Carolina State Highway Patrol says it is important for them to stay 10 feet, or roughly five giant steps, away from the bus as it pulls up. Another key is for the riders to get to the bus stop early so that they are not in a rush.
Horry County area bus supervisor Debbie Lesando says drivers need to be patient and give themselves extra time, as well.
"A lot of people don't want to wait for that bus," Lesando said. "They see that yellow bus and they say 'I don't want to stop. I don't want to get stuck,' so they try to rush around you and sometimes that can cause big problems."
SCHP officials say 'big problems' translate into accidents. They say in the 2006-2007 school year there were 458 bus versus vehicle accidents across the state. They say drivers should remember state law requires all drivers behind buses to stop once the bus slows and puts its lights on.
Drivers coming from the opposite lane on two lane roads are also required to stop, with the only exception for drivers on roads with four or more lanes who are driving in the opposite direction.
Even still, SCHP authorities say those drivers should slow down and look out for children who may be crossing the road. Lesando says especially in the first few weeks of school, children are often more excited to get on the bus and are more likely to dart across the road.
In addition to looking out for school buses, Myrtle Beach Police say parents need to remember to have everyone in the car buckled up. MBPD Officer Jim Allen says parents typically come to school in the mornings with everyone buckled up, but says in the afternoons it is often a different story.
"When they roll up to their spot and the kids jump in their car, they don't take the time to buckle them in or make sure they're buckled in before leaving," Allen said, adding once the drivers are back on the roads he says the message is 'slow down'. "It's not worth any ticket, danger to yourself, or your family. If you have to get up a little earlier, get the kids up a little earlier, but there's no reason to speed to get anywhere."