LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - It’s been a tragic week at school bus stops across the country. Reports of at least eight children hit by cars as they waited to board the bus to school, five of those children died. In Louisville, on Halloween morning, a 13- and an 11-year-old, both brothers and students at Crosby Middle School were headed to school, crossing Broadway to catch a TARC bus. That’s when a car hit them and kept going. Police are still looking for that driver.
Many of these accidents are preventable. When school buses stop, cars are supposed to as well. This week, five school children were hit by cars and killed while waiting at their bus stop. A boy in Pennsylvania, another in Mississippi, as well as twin boys and their older sister hit and killed Tuesday in Indiana. Three other kids were hit and seriously hurt in Florida.
While police investigate those tragedies, experts say many drivers are paying more attention to their phones than the road.
"Distracted driving is basically driving with your eyes closed,” Safe Kids Medical Director Dr. Sadiqa Kendi said. “I think if you asked anyone if they felt it was safe to drive with their eyes closed, they'd say no, that's not a good idea, but people do it so often."
Parents can help by going to the bus stop with their children. Getting there early is also helpful. When kids are rushing, they’re less likely to pay attention to their surroundings.
"They can also make sure the child knows to stand about three giant steps back from the curb,” Dr. Kendi said. “Making sure that they're back far enough, that they're safe, away from traffic."
It is illegal in all 50 states to pass a school bus when it’s stopped with its lights flashing and stop arm extended. A recent study estimated more than 15 million drivers passed a school bus when it was stopped, lights flashing and stop arm extended last school year alone.
Experts say despite these incidents, school buses remain the safest transportation to and from school.