Tips to School Bus Safety
Riding the school bus has longtime been considered the safest form of student transportation. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, American students are nearly eight times safer riding in a school bus than with their own parents/guardians in cars.
However, as with all forms of transportation, dangers do exist. According to HCDE’s Center for Safe and Secure Schools, “The greatest danger is not riding on the bus, but rather getting on or off the bus. In particular, young school children ages 5-7 are the most at-risk for bus-related injury.”
Parents and children should discuss bus safety together to help ensure a safe start to the new school year. The Center for Safe and Secure Schools offers the following bus safety tips to help ease the back-to-school transition.
Things students and families should know about school bus safety:
- The bus driver and others cannot see you if you are standing closer than 10 feet to the bus
- STAY out of the DANGER ZONES!
- If something falls under or near the bus, tell the driver. NEVER try to pick it up yourself!
- While waiting for the bus, stay in a safe place away from the street
- When you get on or off the bus, look for the bus safety lights and make sure they are flashing before proceeding
- Be alert to traffic. Before you get on or off the bus, look left, right, left before you enter or cross the street
- When the driver says it is safe to cross the street, remember to CROSS IN FRONT of the bus
- Stay in your seat and sit quietly so that the driver is not distracted
- Some school buses now have seat belts, if you have seat belts on your school bus, be sure to learn to use the seat belt correctly
- School buses are the safest form of highway transportation
- The most dangerous part of the school bus ride is getting on and off the bus
- Pedestrian fatalities (while loading and unloading school buses) account for approximately three times as many school bus-related fatalities when compared to school bus occupant fatalities
- The loading and unloading area is called the "Danger Zone"
- The "DANGER ZONE" is the area on all sides of the bus where children are in the most danger of not being seen by the driver (ten feet in front of the bus where the driver may be too high to see a child, ten feet on either side of the bus where a child may be in the driver's blind spot, and behind the bus)
Students riding a school bus should always:
- Arrive at the bus stop five (5) minutes early
- Stand at least ten (10) feet away from the edge of the road
- Wait until the bus stops, the door opens, and the driver says it is okay before stepping onto the bus
- Be careful that clothing with drawstrings and book bags with straps or dangling objects do not get caught in the handrail or door while existing the bus
- Check both ways for cars before stepping off the bus
- Use lap shoulder belts when equipped
CROSS THE ROAD SAFELY WHEN BOARDING YOUR BUS
Follow the 10-foot rule:
- STAY on your side of the road, far away from the traffic.
- WAIT for the bus to stop and for your driver's signal to cross;
- CHECK traffic both ways, then check again;
- CROSS by walking directly across, check traffic both ways; and
- WALK approximately 10 feet ahead of the bumper, and board the bus quickly.
CROSS THE ROAD SAFELY WHEN LEAVING THE BUS
WALK along the side of the road until you can see your driver.
STOP and wait for the signal to cross.
WALK/LOOK for traffic in both directions, crossing the road quickly after all vehicles have stopped.