August 17, 2022

Drive Safe as Kids Go Back to School

What to Watch For

While it still feels very much like summer, kids across Idaho are gearing up for another school year. This was made clear to me over the weekend when my daughter put on a fashion show with her new school clothes. As cliché as it may be, I can’t believe summer break is nearly over. 

Depending on where you live, schools may have already started or will soon. This means our morning commute is about to become more colorful with yellow buses back out on the roads. Residential streets will be busier with students walking, bicycling, or waiting at a bus stop.

As the days get shorter (and hopefully cooler), here are a few things for drivers to keep in mind as Idaho students head back to the classroom:


Drive engaged. There will be more children walking, bicycling and riding the bus to school. Many of these children are learning how to use our roads and sidewalks. With the excitement of a new school year, they might not always make the safest choices. Focusing on the road and putting away distractions will help drivers make any necessary adjustments near children.

Slow down. Most school zones in Idaho have a 20 mph speed limit during school hours. The average risk of death for pedestrians if they are hit by a car increases from 10% at 20mph to roughly 80% at 40 mph.
Look for people. This sounds like a given, but all too often, drivers will roll through the stop bar and into a crosswalk at an intersection as they look for other cars. Stop at the stop bar and look out for pedestrians before proceeding.

Stop for buses. Passing a school bus with its stop sign extended is dangerous and illegal. The fine for passing a school bus with its stop arm extended was increased in 2019 by the Idaho legislature: $200 for a first offense, $400 for a second and $600 for a third.


Be patient in the drop-off lane. There is a lot that goes on at drop-off and pick-up time, and it can be stressful. Be patient and be kind – everyone wants school kids to have a great learning experience. What happens in the drop-off zone sets the tone for that.

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