According to data gathered by the NHTSA, from 2007 to 2016, there were 1,282 people of all ages killed in school transportation-related accidents, an average of 128 deaths per year. Also noted in the same report, that over the same time period, there were 320,874 fatal motor vehicle traffic crashes. Of those accidents, 1,147 (0.4%) were listed as school-transportation-related.
Even though school bus related accidents are relatively uncommon, they do still occur, and fortunately, there are a multitude of safety precautions that can be taken by students, parents, and motorists, to help ensure the safety of everyone sharing the road with school buses.
School Bus Safety Tips for Students
First and foremost, we must protect our students who are riding (and getting off and on) the bus. Take a look at these important steps to helping your child get on and off the bus, as well as how to be a responsible rider.
Rules for Entering the Bus Safely
- Always be at the bus stop at least five minutes early. Do NOT run to the bus.
- Pick a safe place that is not near the road to wait for the bus to arrive.
- Never forget to avoid the danger zone that surrounds the bus. The danger zone can be defined as anywhere by the bus, close enough to touch the bus.
- If you need to cross the street to get on the bus, always wait until the bus has come to a complete stop.
- Hold onto the handrail while boarding the bus.
- Do not push or shove any other students.
Rules for Riding on the Bus Safely
- Quickly find your seat and sit correctly, facing the front of the bus.
- Put all of your belongings on your lap or beneath your seat.
- Do not block the aisle of the bus for any reason.
- Always keep your head, hands and arms inside the bus.
- Never throw any object while inside or outside of the bus.
- Try not to yell or talk too loudly. It can affect the driver’s concentration.
- Be very quiet when approaching a railroad crossing.
- Only bring items that you are allowed to bring to school onto the bus.
- No food or drink is allowed on the bus at any time. This includes gum.
- Smoking is not allowed on the bus.
- Always be sure to follow the bus driver’s instructions.
Rules for Exiting the Bus Safely
- Remain in your seat until the bus makes a full stop.
- When exiting the bus, hold the handrail and take two large steps away from the bus to get out of the danger zone.
- If you need to cross the road ahead of the bus, walk ahead at least ten giant steps.
- Cross only when the driver gives you the signal that it’s ok to cross.
- Walk across the street, looking both ways for oncoming traffic.
- If everyone is leaving the bus, riders at the front get off first.
- Do not push or run down the aisle.
- If you drop something by the bus, do not pick it up yourself. Tell an adult.
School Bus Safety Tips for Parents
Children are about 70x more likely to get to school safely if they take the school bus instead of riding in a car, according to data provided by the NHTSA. That makes the school bus the safest form of transportation for getting a student to and from school.
While the bus ride itself can be quite safe, getting your children safely onto and off of the bus can be a larger challenge. Parents are reminded of the following tips to keep children safe before and after their ride to school.
- Stay out of the danger zone – The danger zone is a space that extends out several feet all around the school bus, where a driver may not be able to see young pedestrians. Be very mindful, and keep your vehicle, other children, and pets out of the danger zone at all times.
- Park a safe distance from the bus stop – Parents who drive a vehicle to their child’s bus stop should make sure to park an appropriate distance behind the parked bus, at least 20 feet is the law in most states.
- Parents should not instruct students when it is safe to cross – The children should keep focused on the bus driver’s all clear signal before crossing the street.
- Keep students’ personal belongings in a backpack or book bag – Students should carry all of their school supplies in a backpack to avoid the possibility of dropping items that might end up under the bus. Book bags, jackets and hoodies should be free of any dangling objects that may get tangled in the bus doors.
- Teach your children bus safety rules – Don’t expect your children to learn these rules at school. Sit down with your children and go over all of the rules for students contained in this article, and make sure that they understand them, learn them, and respect them.
School Bus Safety Tips for Motorists
Other motorists also have an important role to play in helping to keep children on buses safe, but also to protect themselves at the same time. Here are some easy tips to follow if you’re driving and you find that you are in the vicinity of a school bus.
- When driving behind a bus, follow from a greater distance than if you were driving behind another car. It is illegal in every state to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children.
- If the yellow or red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended, you must stop your vehicle immediately, and wait for the children to enter or exit the bus before proceeding.
- The area several feet around the bus is the most dangerous for children; always stop your car far enough back to allow them enough room to safely enter and exit the bus.
- Be watchful! Children can be difficult to predict, and they tend to ignore hazards and take risks.
Tallahassee School Bus Services
When you’re responsible for transporting numerous children, you want to know that you can trust your driver’s judgment and the safety of their bus. At Tomahawk Transportation, we always ensure our drivers and buses meet the highest standards in the transportation industry.
When a Tomahawk Transportation school bus arrives to transport you and your students for a school-related event, you can rest assured the driver will be taking the utmost care and caution. We are happy to bring you and your students to and from your school trip, sporting event, and other special school-related events.