Safety: Follow traffic rules and keep our kids safe

Mid-Ohio Valley residents care deeply about the safety of our kids. There is no doubt. But it takes only a second of distraction to turn a daily drive into a tragic situation.

Likely every school bus driver in our area has watched in shock, fear and anger as motorists ignored flashing red lights and extended stop sign arms to pass his or her big yellow bus. It happens all too often, despite law enforcement agencies’ focused attempts to stop it.

Last week, five American children were killed by motorists for whom paying a little attention was too much of a bother.

Three siblings — a 9-year-old girl and her twin 6-year-old brothers — were killed when they were struck by a pickup truck near Rochester, Ind. The children were crossing the road to get on their school bus, which was stopped with red lights flashing and a stop sign displayed.

A 24-year-old woman who was driving the truck has been arrested. She insists she just didn’t notice the bus.

A similar situation occured in Baldwyn, Miss. A 9-year-old boy died.

And in Franklin Township, Pa., a 7-year-old boy was killed at his school bus stop, by a hit-and-run driver.

All five children died because drivers did not care enough for children to slow down just a little and watch for stopped school buses and/or children on streets and highways.

Another frequent occurrence is motorists zipping through plainly marked school zones — with children present — at well over the 15 mph speed limit.

It is something of a miracle that there have been no serious accidents in our area involving stopped school buses or school zones during the past several years. At some point, our luck will run out.

Please, pay enough attention that when a big, yellow school bus with flashing red lights and a stop sign is on the road in front of you, you see it.

The same goes for school zones where children are present at the same times each and every weekday.

Resolve to avoid the distractions that can cause such lapses in attention. Our kids are too important.