While taking a bus to school is still touted by the Maryland Department of Transportation as the safest way for children to travel, officials said this week that the responsibility of ensuring safety falls to everyone.
Kyle Lynam, a 16-year-old North Harford High School student, was struck and killed while running into the roadway to catch his school bus, according to Maryland State Police.
Kyle was hit by a 2015 Chevy Tahoe, according to a state police news release. The Tahoe was being driven by William P. Murphy Jr., 40, of Felton, Pa., whom police said is not facing any charges in the accident.
Lt. Tim Mullin, commander of the Bel Air Barrack of the Maryland State Police, encouraged everyone this week to be aware when they’re driving, particularly when buses could be out. Responsibility falls to everyone — drivers, students and parents, he said.
“We know what happened. We need to figure out why, and how to keep it from happening again,” Mullin said Wednesday.
The Maryland Department of Transportation bus safety guidelines state that children’s greatest safety risk is not when riding the bus, but rather when approaching or leaving the bus.
While an average of seven school-age passengers are killed in school bus crashes each year, 19 are killed getting on and off the bus, the safety guidelines state.
Here are Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration’s guidance for parents to help make school bus transportation safer:
» Get to the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive.
» When the bus approaches, stand at least three giant steps or about 6 feet away from the curb, and line up away from the street.
» Wait until the bus stops, the door opens and the driver says it is OK before stepping onto the bus.
» When getting onto the bus, stay away from the danger zone and wait for the driver's signal. Board the bus one at a time.
» When getting off the bus, look before stepping off the bus to be sure no cars are passing on the shoulder or side of the road. Move away from the bus.
» Before crossing the street, take five giant steps out from the front of the bus, or until the driver's face can be seen. Wait for the driver to signal that it is safe to cross.
» Look left-right-left when coming to the edge of the bus to make sure traffic is stopped. Keep watching traffic when crossing.
» Use the handrails to avoid falls. When exiting the bus, be careful that clothing with drawstrings and backpacks with straps do not get caught in the handrails or doors.
» Never walk behind the bus.
» Walk at least three giant steps away from the side of the bus.
» If you drop something near the bus, tell the bus driver. Never try to pick it up because the driver might not be able to see you.
» Supervise children to make sure they get to the stop on time, wait far away from the road and avoid rough play.
» If you think a bus stop is in a dangerous place, talk with your school office or transportation director about changing the location.
Baltimore Sun Media Group reporter Erika Butler contributed to this article.