Return of the School Bus

There are many signs that indicate summer’s end no matter where you reside. The sun sets a little bit earlier. Temperatures drop noticeably at night. And the big yellow school buses reappear. 

Although all three of these signs affect the traveling public, the only one we can have positive or negative influence over are school buses.

Did you know on a yearly average, 33 children—typically five to seven years old—are killed in school bus-related traffic accidents in the U.S? Most of these children are killed as pedestrians in the 10-foot danger zone that encompasses all four sides of a bus. This happens because they’re in a hurry, are easily distracted and believe that the nice driver will always stop for them.

That’s why each state has its own school bus driving laws for motorists. For example, a common rule requires drivers in either direction to stop when the bus is flashing red lights. If you are an employer who has drivers on staff, make sure they know the law. Besides avoiding tragedy, you’ll also dodge a very bad PR bullet that could come if one of your drivers accidentally hits a child. 

As a parent, there are several clichés you can use to teach your children about bus safety:

  • The five giant steps rule. When crossing the street after getting off the bus, stand in front of the bus and take five giant steps forward. Wait until the driver sees you and signals for you to go. 
  • Beware of the bus stop. The bus stop is the most dangerous stage of the bus trip. Most kids are killed getting on or off the bus. 
  • Left-right-left. Before crossing, look left, then right, then left again for oncoming traffic before crossing.

Here's a good website that can serve as a refresher as we begin to share the roads with the big yellow units: School Bus Safety