Practice safety around buses
Published 7:00 am Thursday, July 30, 2015
Next Wednesday, students in Poplarville will head back to school to fill their minds with knowledge.
Poplarville School District Transportation Director Ed Sternod would like to remind residents and drivers to practice safety as students travel back and forth from school.
“We are asking everyone to be aware of school buses on the roads,” Sternod said. “Traffic will be slow and we encourage drivers not to get rushed.”
On a city or county road, the maximum speed limit for a bus, no matter the speed limit posted, is 45 miles per hour, Sternod said. The maximum interstate speed for a school bus is 50 miles per hour. These limits are mandated by state and federal laws, he said.
There are 25 buses housed in the Poplarville School District and more than 1,400 students are bussed to and from school, Sternod said. A bus driver will make about 1,250 daily stops, which includes morning pickup and afternoon drop offs.
Buses in the district travel on more than 800 roads, which is about 480 square miles, Sternod said.
The district’s buses are designed to hold 71 passengers, three to a seat. However, on average, Poplarville’s buses hold about 55 to 60 students, Sternod said.
Not only do motorists need to pay attention to buses, but especially students as they board and depart the bus.
“The students need to listen to the driver and pay attention to their signals,” Sternod said. “The most dangerous part of any route is crossing streets and loading and unloading the bus.”
Once on the bus, students are assigned a seat. They must remained seated and wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before exiting, Sternod said. Students are not allowed to bring electronic devices on the bus and must keep their noise levels at a minimum.
In an effort to promote safe bus habits, Sternod provides principals and teachers with a different bus safety topic each month. Teachers may instruct their students about loading and unloading the bus, driver signals and what to do on the bus, Sternod said.
On the last day of each month during the school year, the district also holds a safety meeting, he said.
All bus drivers within the Poplarville School District are CDL certified with a passenger and school bus endorsement, Sternod said. They recertify every two years and are required to complete a minimum of two hours of service training each semester.
If people have any questions about the district’s transportation department, Sternod encourages them to contact him or a bus driver at 601-795-4728.
“Sometimes drivers don’t stop and they try to hurry up,” Sternod said. “When a bus’ red light is flashing, it means stop.”