School Bus Safety

Every year school buses carry some 24 million students and collectively travel more than 10 billion miles. Considering how many kids the buses carry and the distance they cover, deaths on the road are extremely rare.  School buses have a rate of 0.2 deaths per 100 million miles traveled. The rate of deaths in automobiles is eight times higher.  On average, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, (NHTSA) reported, about 154 people die in school-vehicle-related crashes each year.  Of those, 8% are riding in the buses. Pedestrians, bicyclists and others outside the bus account for 21% of fatalities.  By far the most fatalities — nearly three-fourths — are people in other vehicles. Therefore, once a bus begins driving, a child is safer inside the bus than outside it.  No matter how impressive statistics involving millions of kids and billions of miles are, they tend to pale in comparison when we hear the name of a single child who has come to harm, especially when that harm could have been prevented.

Taking the bus for the first time is a big step for your child.  School buses are the safest mode of motorized transportation for getting children to and from school, but injuries can occur if kids are not careful and aware when getting on and off the bus. When it comes to getting kids safely to and from school, there’s always room for improvement. Help your kids get on and off the bus safely by following these tips:

  1. Walk with your kids to the bus stop and wait with them until the bus arrives.
  2. Tell kids to stand at least three giant steps back from the curb as the bus approaches and board the bus one at a time.
  3. Teach kids to wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before getting off and never to walk behind the bus.
  4. If your child needs to cross the street after exiting the bus, he or she should take five giant steps in front of the bus, make eye contact with the bus driver and cross when the driver indicates it’s safe.
  5. Teach kids to look left, right and left again before crossing the street.
  6. Instruct younger kids to use handrails when boarding or exiting the bus.
  7. Be careful of straps or drawstrings that could get caught in the door.
  8. If your children drop something, they should tell the bus driver and make sure the bus driver is able to see them before they pick it up.
  9. Drivers should always follow the speed limit and make sure you always decrease your speed in school zones and near bus stops. Remember to stay alert and look for kids who may be trying to get to or from the school bus.
  10. Slow down and stop if you’re driving near a school bus that is flashing yellow or red lights. This means the bus is either preparing to stop (yellow) or already stopped (red) and children are getting on or off.