Back-to-School Safety Month

Monthly safety tip from your Black Hawk College Safety Committee

It’s Back-to-School Safety Month in August and time to think about and practice your safe driving habits. If you haven’t already noticed, you’ll soon need to keep your eyes on the road and watch for school buses, children crossing the street, walking or riding their bicycles, and motorcycles too!

Rules of the road school bus facts:

  • All 50 states have a law making it illegal to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children.
  • School buses use their yellow flashing lights to alert motorists that they are preparing to stop.
  • Red flashing lights and an extended stop sign arm tell drivers the bus is stopped and children are getting on or off the bus – that means all traffic in both directions are to stop on undivided roadways when students are entering or exiting a school bus.
  • If you are traveling in the same direction of a school bus and you are directly behind it, you must stop when the stop sign arm is down and the light is flashing red.
  • Stop your car far enough away from the bus to allow children to safely enter and exit the bus as the area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children; it is where they are most likely to be hit by a car.
  • It is illegal to pass a school bus on the right.

Drivers, stay alert as children are unpredictable. Children walking to or from their bus are usually very comfortable with their surroundings which makes them more likely to take risks, ignore hazards or fail to look both ways when crossing the street. reports that 61 children are hit by cars in the United States every day before and after school. Their research indicates that a teenager is now more likely to be hit by a car than a younger student. In 2013, 484 pedestrians ages 19 and younger died after being hit by a motor vehicle; 47 percent of the pedestrians were 15-19 years old according to the National Safety Council’s Injury Facts 2015. The NSC indicates that the number three cause of injury and death is distracted driving.

If a driver is texting and driving, they are 23 times more likely to crash versus three times more likely when eating, drinking or adjusting the stereo while driving.  In Illinois all drivers are banned from texting and using a cell phone while driving. Only drivers 19 years of age or older are permitted to use a hands-free device while driving.  In Iowa cell phone usage is illegal for all learner permit and intermediate license holders.  All drivers – regardless of age – are banned from texting.

Drivers are not the only distracted people, pedestrians are too. The NSC has focused its efforts on eliminating distracted walking – specifically walking while texting. According to a study by The Nielsen Company, kids age 13-17 send more than 3,400 texts a month. That’s seven messages every hour they are awake.

If you have children, grandchildren or know parents with children, take a moment to remind them of the following year-round safety tips:

  • Look both ways when walking and/or getting into and out of a bus.
  • Never walk while texting or talking on the phone.
  • If texting, move out of the way of others and stop on the sidewalk.
  • Never cross the street while using an electronic device.
  • Do not walk with headphones on.
  • Always walk on the sidewalk if one is available. If a child must walk on the street, he or she should face oncoming traffic.
  • Look left, right, then left again before crossing the street.

The rules of the road each day apply to both pedestrians and drivers. Stay alert, look both ways and be aware of your surroundings at all times, your life may depend on it.


Disclaimer: These tips have been provided as general information for increasing safety awareness and for informational purposes only. Black Hawk College does not accept any liability for the information or advice (or the use of such information or advice) that is provided. We make every effort to insure the integrity and validity of the data provided.  Always, check with your care provider before making any changes.