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School bus safety emphasized as students return to school

MADISON – Students returned to school on Monday after being out over the Christmas break, which means school buses will once again hit the roads in the mornings and afternoons. On Friday, Madison City school bus drivers met with Madison Police Sgt. Greg Dees to discuss how they can work together to make sure kids are safe as they get to school and back home again.

Sgt. Dees went over such topics as traffic laws governing school buses, road hazards, dealing with adults who try to board a school bus, keeping order on the bus, reporting mandates with suspected child abuse and neglect.

The Madison City School Districts operates a fleet of nearly 100 buses, with each bus carrying between 35 to 60 students each day.

Sgt. Dees said one of the main issues still plaguing school bus safety are motorists trying to pass a stopped school bus.

“If they are passing a stopped school bus, it’s just a matter of time before they hit a child crossing the road,” Sgt. Dees said. “State statute says that you need to stop you are required to stop for a bus with its red lights on.”

He also stressed the importance of motorists not being distracted by devices so they can be more aware of school buses around them, and being courteous to let school buses into to traffic.

“A little common courtesy goes a long way to helping keep the students safe. I’m asking that we have a little bit of patience,” Sgt. Dees said. “I know that traffic volume is extremely heavy and everyone is trying to get to where they are going.”

Madison Police will especially be patrolling during the morning and afternoon commutes this week to help ensure the roads are safe for students being transported by school buses.

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