Missouri state troopers are urging motorists to be careful on the road, as students prepare to begin the 2019-2020 school year.

A Missouri state trooper speaks to students about school bus safety (2019 file photo courtesy of Missouri State Highway Patrol general headquarters)

Missouri State Highway Patrol Captain John Hotz says five Missourians were killed and another 457 suffered injuries in traffic crashes involving school buses in 2018.

“And we want to make sure that anytime they’re (bus drivers) picking up or discharging students that people are stopping for them, if they’re required to stop,” Hotz says.

Captain Hotz reminds you that Missouri law requires drivers to stop when a school bus stops and displays warning signals to load or unload children, on a two-lane road.

He says pedestrian and bicycle traffic will increase near schools and wants drivers to be alert.

“We know that this time of year we’re going to start seeing school buses, we haven’t seen those for several months now,” says Hotz. “But we also see a lot of parents that take their kids to school.”

Hotz reminds children to wear a helmet and follow traffic laws, if they ride a bicycle to school.

He also says most traffic crashes involving drivers under the age of 21 happen between 3 and 4 p.m., when school typically lets out. As the new school year approaches, Hotz encourages parents to tell young people that driving is a full-time job.

“Once they’re (students) leaving school, some of them may be going to jobs, some of them may have practice or whatever, but a lot of times they’re driving around for more recreational purposes,” Hotz says.

He says using a cell phone or texting can be the distraction that leads to a crash, adding that texting while driving is against Missouri law for anyone under the age of 22.

Click here to listen to Brian Hauswirth’s full interview with Missouri State Highway Patrol Captain John Hotz, which was recorded on August 6, 2019:

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