Back to School: Start driving safely around schools or get pulled over, says GA officials

Back To School

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Georgia is teaming up with AAA Friday to remind drivers how to stay safe when Savannah-Chatham County students go back to school on Monday.

“Not only as a law enforcement officer but as a father, please slow down and pay attention around the school buses around our schools in Georgia,” says Powell Harrelson, a Senior Law Enforcement Liaison with GOHS.

The ‘School’s Open, Drive Carefully’ campaign has been traveling across the state of Georgia reminding motorists how to drive safely around school buses, around students and in school zones.

“The message is very simple of the campaign,” says Garrett Townsend with AAA, “to be aware of the dangers that exist in and around school zones, particularly as schools are back in session.”

Though riding a school bus is an extremely safe mode of transportation, crashes do happen, and many of them are the fault of the other driver, according to the Georgia Department of Education.

Bus riders are at the greatest risk when getting on and off the school bus, where there are other moving vehicles around.

“We’re going to be in what we call ER mode,” says Savannah Chief of Police Roy Minter,” and ER mode for us means we are going to be enforcement ready.”

“My job is normally not to write tickets and things like that. But during school when it starts up, we want to make sure the kids are safe,” says Chatham County Sheriff John Wilcher.

Something that is important to remember are the rules when driving by school buses. If you’re directly behind a bus and the bus stops, you also must stop and wait until it moves again, you cannot go around it.

If a bus is coming towards you in the opposite direction and stops, you also must stop – even if you are in the other lane, explains Townsend. The only time you are allowed to keep going is when there’s a physical barrier between your vehicle and the lane the bus is in.

For more on the initiative from AAA, visit their website.

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