To help keep children safer when they enter and exit school buses, more lights and signage have been added to the buses, according to Montana Highway Patrol Public Information Officer Jay Nelson.

Nelson said kids will be excited to get back to school and may not be watching traffic closely.

“Yes, kids are going back to school, and so we have those school speed zones,” said Nelson. “They're set up for a purpose. We have kids that are excited to go to and from school and those speed limits change, so please be aware of changing speed limits around school zones and be mindful of children that could be jumping out in front of you just be aware.”

Nelson said drivers will see more lights on school buses as they approach their stops.

“You're going to see some things that are out there that are a little different,” he said. “There will be stop arms on the school buses that are going to start to be extended so that we will see those better. You're going to possibly see more red lights on the school buses. And the biggest thing to take away is once you see those red lights, everybody has to stop in both directions.”

Nelson recalled a tragic accident last school year when a six year-old child was critically injured when a driver ignored the school bus lights.

“Believe me, it's one of my worst nightmares,” he said. “Having young kids that are at that age and watching them get on and off the bus is a scary thing, and we want to make sure that they're safe. We want to make sure that they can get to and from school without a problem. Everybody just needs to do their part that when they see the red lights, come to a stop, and wait for those kids to get on and off.”

Nelson said it might be a good idea, if possible, to have a parent or guardian wait at the bus stop to assist very young schoolchildren.

“It's always good to have an adult there prior to the school bus arrival and at the school bus drop zone when school's out,” he said. “Some of these young kids I mean, we think they might be ready, but I mean, that's a difficult thing. So definitely have somebody there.”

Attached, find a school bus safety video from the Montana Highway Patrol.

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