The California Highway Patrol is reminding school bus riders and motorists to pay attention to each other to ensure safety.
"I see the driver -- the driver sees me" is the theme of this year's National School Bus Safety Week, Oct. 22-26.
Studies show that the most dangerous part of the school bus ride for children is when they get on and off the bus, according to a CHP news release. Motorists are urged to pay close attention to school buses on local roads and to be aware of their flashing lights. In California, flashing yellow lights on a school bus are a warning to slow down and prepare to stop, while flashing red lights require all motorists to stop.
Although drivers of all vehicles are required to stop for a school bus when it is stopped to load and unload passengers, children should not assume they will to do so, officials said. Children are advised to wait on the sidewalk, and when it is time to cross the street, wait for the bus driver to guide them across.
According to statistics from the CHP's Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System for 2010, the most recent year for which finalized figures are available, eight people were killed in collisions involving school buses. None was a student.
The CHP inspects and certifies more than 23,500 buses in California. National School Bus Safety Week is observed annually the third week in October.