Be aware of school buses - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Be aware of school buses

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by Danielle Wagner

WAVERLY (KWWL) -- According to the Iowa Department of Education, there are more than 4500 school buses on Iowa roads each school day.

The Iowa Department of Transportation said from 2002 to 2007, there were an average of 196 crashes annually involving school buses.

Of those crashes, 145 were property damage, 48 included injuries, and on average, two were fatal.

Buses are equipped with multiple warning devices to keep school children and other drivers as safe as possible.

Each morning and afternoon Bruce Stotser carries precious cargo... children. Stotser is a bus driver and training instructor for Waverly-Shell Rock Schools.

It's his job to keep the students safe, but he said he needs help from other drivers.

"Traditionally drivers think about what they're going to do after they reach their destination, rather than the job at hand, which is driving safely," said Bruce Stotser.

Stotser said when following a bus, keep your distance because buses...

"Stop all the time, stop unexpected, we stop at all railroad crossings, but we don't stop without warning other drivers," he said.

Approximately 300 to 500 feet before a stopping point, school buses start flashing yellow lights.

When the bus reaches its stopping point, red lights begin to flash and a stop arm extends. On three and two lane roads, vehicles in both directions must stop.

"It's like a stop sign or stop light. You have to stop until it doesn't show," said Stotser.

Stotser said the bright yellow color of school buses is no accident.

"It's one of the first colors your eyes recognize," he said.

Anytime you're on the road, Stotser advises putting down the cell phone and keeping your focus on the task at hand... driving. The goal is to keep everyone safe.

Online Reporter: Danielle Wagner

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