KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Troopers with the Tennessee Highway Patrol’s Pupil Transportation Unit are making school bus safety a priority with inspections ahead of the new school year.

THP says there are around 9,500 school buses that Pupil Transportation inspects, with an average of approximately 17,000 bus inspections annually.

The inspection duties are performed by State Troopers and civilian personnel assigned to the eight THP districts.

Apart from inspections, each year Pupil Transportation also provides mandatory four-hour driver safety training. The failure to attend the annual required training results in a public school bus driver losing their “S” endorsement.

School bus safety tips for drivers to remember

As schools get back in session, here are some safety tips from Knox County Schools for drivers to remember as they navigate neighborhoods and school zones:

  • Watch out for students and pedestrians when driving in school zones
  • Slow down and watch for children gathering near bus stops
  • Look for children who might dart into the street without checking for traffic
  • Know and obey the traffic laws regarding school buses in Tennessee
  • If you see a school bus stopped with flashing lights activated and the stop sign activated, you must stop too (unless there is a grassy median or physical divider in the roadway)
  • On a two-lane road when a school bus stops and you see the flashing stop sign, it doesn’t matter what direction you’re going, you have to stop too

For the Motorist Violation Report from THP’s Pupil Transportation Unit, download the PDF.

The annual National School Bus Safety Week will be observed in October by school districts.