• School Bus Stop Safety: What WSP Wants All Drivers To Know

    The law states the $394 fine for failure to stop for a school bus cannot be reduced, suspended, or waived. If you get a ticket for failure to stop for a school bus you will pay the full amount.

    We cannot stress enough how important it is to practice safe driving, especially when children are present.

    The WSP has posted a video discussing rules of the road and driving safety around the school buses; when you have to stop and when you may proceed. The School Bus Stop Rules video is posted on the State Patrol web site. Watch the video. It could be the best 4 minutes you spend. It could save you money. It could save a child’s life.

    Why can’t my child bring his tuba on the bus?

    Certain items are not allowed on board a school bus. Some items are not allowed by law, State Law, (WAC 392-145-021), states no large, sharp or bulky items can be transported in the passenger compartment of a school bus. Other items are not allowed by Othello School District policy and common sense. Special accommodations are made for some musical instruments (pdf). However, at no time may an instrument displace a student rider. Balloons, popcorn, skateboards, roller blades, ‘wheelie’ shoes, sacks of flour or sugar, strollers, and potted plants are not permitted. Food items are not permitted for cleanliness and to avoid choking hazards, except food contained inside a sealed lunch box or backpack.

    How do I know Othello School District school buses are safe for my child?

    Twice yearly our buses are subject to inspection by the Washington State Patrol (WSP). Once a year, each summer, a scheduled inspection including 100% of our fleet is checked by State Patrol officers. During a second ‘surprise’ inspection they check a random 25% sample of the fleet.

    How do you ensure my child knows what to do in a bus emergency?

    Emergency Exit drills are done twice yearly within six weeks of the beginning of each school semester, as prescribed by state law. Two weeks after the actual drill students are given an oral review. These drills are only conducted in the bus zones on school property for safety purposes. Students exempt from actual drills, e.g. those with special needs, are given oral instruction three times each year.

    What is the danger zone around a school bus?

    The Danger Zone is the space all around the school bus. It extends out 10 feet (10 giant steps) in all directions. The School Bus Driver cannot see you in this zone. He or she cannot see you around the wheels either. It is very dangerous to be in the Danger Zone.

    Washington’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan states, “School bus travel remains the safest way to send children to school and Washington State continues to ensure that 100 percent of school buses receive safety inspections and school bus drivers receive training in vehicle dynamics, precision driving skills, obstacle avoidance, and evasive maneuvers. From 1994 to present, since data has been collected on school bus passengers, no school bus passenger fatalities have occurred in school bus-related collisions.”

    If you have to cross the road; 

    1. Make eye contact with the driver.
    2. Wait for the driver to signal you when it is safe to cross.
    3. Be sure it is safe – Look left, right, then left again .