Millions of children ride a school bus nearly every day. Statistics show that school buses are the safest way to transport children to and from school. Even still, many injuries and deaths happen outside or near a school bus due to motorists failing to obey a bus stop-arm or other traffic laws.
School bus accident statistics
- From 2011 until 2020, 218 school children (18 and younger) died in school bus-related crashes, either as passengers on school buses and other vehicles, or as pedestrians.
- Of the 218 school children, 18 were walking in the “Danger Zone”.
- In every state, it is illegal for drivers to pass a school bus when the stop-arm is extended and the lights are flashing.
The most dangerous part of a child’s bus ride is when they are getting on and off the bus. As motorists, we share the responsibility of keeping them safe. We do so by respecting traffic laws, the most important being not illegally passing a school bus. Doing so can result in extreme fines and automatic demerit points on your license, and worst of all you could severely harm or kill someone.
Understanding traffic laws around school buses is the first step to preventing serious school bus accidents.
- When a school bus is in motion, you may pass them using general traffic rules, as you would with any other vehicle.
- When a school bus turns on its flashing lights and extends its stop-arm, it’s indicating that children will be entering or exiting the bus.
- At this time, all vehicles traveling behind or in oncoming lanes must stop – leaving at least 50 feet of distance.
- This loading and unloading area is known as the “Danger Zone,” because children may not be seen by the bus driver or other drivers looking over their dashboard.