Legislative Column for the Week of Aug. 10, 2015
Back to School

This week, the roads are once again populated with those familiar yellow buses. Yes, school is back in session, and parents, students and everyone in between could use a reminder about safety.

School buses generally do not have safety belts installed for student seating. Therefore, we all need to pay proper attention when we encounter one of these vehicles carrying our precious cargo. If you encounter a stopped school bus, pay particular attention to stop signs, flashing lights and especially children getting on or off the bus. Traffic must stop in both directions when a school bus is stopped for loading or unloading on a divided roadway.

In addition, please instruct children that the bus driver may not always see them if they cross in front of the bus, and that they should cross well enough in front of the bus to be in view of the driver. If a student drops an item while in front of the bus, they must notify the driver before going back to pick it up. The driver may not see someone bent over retrieving a dropped item.

Always remind kids to keep their shoelaces tied, loose clothing secured and straps and strings tucked safely away while walking to or from the bus, as this can be another possible safety hazard.

In addition to school bus safety, pedestrian safety is equally important. Be sure your student takes the sidewalks when available, and uses the proper crosswalks when crossing the street, and to never enter the street from between parked cars or near trees or bushes. Many accidents happen in this way, when the driver simply cannot see a small child until it is too late.

As drivers, we all must remain especially vigilant when it comes to school zones and neighborhoods. Keep distractions to a minimum by keeping your eyes on the road, and not at a passenger in your car, or the sound system, or more importantly, your phone. Driving while texting can have disastrous results for you, your family and possibly an unsuspecting child trying to get to or from school.

The Missouri Department of Transportation has a wealth of safety links available at their website: www.modot.org/safety. Please visit the site for more information.

As always, I encourage my constituents to contact me throughout the year with comments, questions or suggestions by calling my office at (573) 751-5713. To find more information about the bills I sponsor, visit www.senate.mo.gov/brown.

Thank you for reading this and for your participation in state government.