State law enforcement remind motorists to watch for students

Buses in Rolla used for Rolla School District.

In good weather, pedestrian and bicycle traffic increases close to schools. It is critical for drivers to be alert, especially near school zones, playgrounds and bicycle paths. The highway patrol said whatever route residents drive, expect this additional traffic and prepare by allowing extra time to reach a destination.

In 2019, the highway patrol reports three people were killed and 471 people were injured in 1,015 traffic crashes involving school buses. Parents are encouraged to talk to their children about riding a bus, walking or driving to school in a safe manner. If they ride a bike, please make sure they wear a helmet and follow traffic laws, the highway patrol said. 

Missouri law states that on a two-lane road, if a school bus is stopped and displaying warning signals while loading or unloading children, drivers must stop when meeting and following the bus. However, it is only necessary to stop on a four-lane highway when following the bus. 

“Drivers, when you see a stopped school bus, stay alert and follow the law. Children may not be aware of traffic and dart unexpectedly into the roadway,” the patrol said in a news release Monday. 

Most traffic crashes involving young drivers — under the age of 21 — occur between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m., when school typically lets out. Many of these drivers are young and inexperienced. 

The highway patrol said parents should encourage those young drivers to remember driving is a full-time job. Using a cell phone, texting or adjusting the radio can be the distraction that leads to a traffic crash. 

Texting is against the law for anyone under the age of 22. 

“Every driver needs to be aware of the increased traffic during this time—and not just in areas around schools. Some of these young drivers are headed to an after-school activity or going to work,” the patrol said. 

State law enforcement remind school personnel, parents and students of the Courage2Report Missouri program, which provides a safe and confidential way to report any concerns regarding their safety or the safety of others. These concerns may include: assault, bullying or repeated harassment, cyber bullying, fighting, guns, homicide, human trafficking, knife, planned school attack, imminent school shooting, school shooting threat, sexual offense, suicide-other person (3rd party), or a terrorism threat (extremism). 

Those reporting their concerns may remain anonymous. Courage2Report Missouri empowers adults and children to be the solution in addressing community and school safety. The program provides a “sooner is safer” tool to report real time concerns 24 hours a day. 

Concerned persons may submit a Courage2Report through an Apple or Google Play mobile app, by making an online report via, or by speaking confidentially to a trained professional at 866-748-7047.