October 16th to 20th is the NHTSA’s National School Bus Safety Week. During this week Jones & Swanson wants to remind everyone the importance of reminding our students to stay safe, and fellow drivers to always be aware when approaching school buses!
While many may think school bus precautions aren’t at the top of their safety list, we often times forget that millions of students ride buses daily. It may be the safest vehicle on the road, but children are at greater risk when entering and exiting a bus. From 2012 to 2021 alone, 113 people have been killed in school transportation vehicles (NHTSA), this statistic is striking when we consider all the safety measures we take with school buses and is a constant reminder of why we need to stay vigilant and utilize these valuable safety tips.
- Arrive on time. Arrive at least a few minutes before the scheduled time, do not find yourself running through busy roads trying to make it before doors close!
- Stay in sight. Always cross in front of the bus, at least 10 feet away, and make sure that the bus driver can see you by making eye contact with them. Never cross behind the bus.
- Let the driver know if you dropped something. If you drop anything near the bus, pause, you should either wave your arms to alert the driver, make sure they’ve noticed your alert, and then proceed to pick it up or walk back and verbally tell them. Do not attempt to pick it up alone as they may not see you.
- Use safety features. Always use the handrail when entering the bus. If your bus is equipped with seatbelts, utilize them.
- Behave appropriately. Stay in your seat, and keep your head, arms, and any items inside the bus at all times. Talk quietly and pay attention in the event a bus driver needs to speak with everyone.
- Wait. Wait until a bus has stopped and the doors have opened, as well as make sure the guide rails and stop signs have popped out before you approach or get off the bus.
- Do not pass a stopped bus. Do not pass a bus if it is stopped to pick up or drop off children. Once lights are flashing, both lanes on an undivided road must come to a complete stop at least 10 feet from a bus. Passing a stopped bus is illegal in all 50 states.
- Be alert. Children tend to not pay attention, so make sure that you are watching them in the case of an unpredictable incident.
- Do not follow closely. Always give a bus space on the road, and give them a greater distance than you would a car as they make frequent stops.
- Check your mirrors near bus stops. Children may run from behind your car at any point as they are trying to make it to their stop. Always be aware of the surroundings.
- Obey school zone speed limits. Always be aware of when you pass a school zone speed sign. They typically will be flashing during pick-up and drop-off hours, and speed limits will be dropped significantly.