Approximately 24 million children begin and end their day on the school bus.
However, there is one point when a child riding a bus can be at risk and that is when the child steps off the bus. Getting on and off a bus are the two riskiest elements of using this method of transport. More children are killed due to this very reason compared to school bus accidents caused by negligence. Statistics show that children in the age group of five to seven years are the most common victims.
School Bus Accidents
Some of the reasons why these types of accidents tend to occur include:
- rushing to get on or off the bus
- lack of traffic experience
- relying on other drivers to pay attention, rather than doing it themselves
- standing or walking in areas around the bus where the bus driver cannot see
- making sudden movements in front of the bus, most commonly to retrieve something they dropped
Students’ Safety Awareness
It is of the utmost importance that young children learn about safety and are aware of the risks involving traffic. Children should be reminded to:
- not rush to get on or off the bus
- stay away from traffic and stand on the sidewalk
- not run onto the street where other cars are moving
- not approach the bus until it has fully stopped and the doors have opened
As important it is for children to pay attention to traffic, other drivers should also pay special attention when there is a school bus in the vicinity and especially when passing through school zones. Drivers should:
- Drive Slowly – Children tend to walk on the street whether there is a sidewalk available or not.
- Be Focused – Be ready to make a sudden stop in case a child appears running out of nowhere after the school bus. Avoid distracted driving.
- Be Careful – Children easily lose their focus when they are involved in some sort of an activity while waiting for the bus.
- Watch for Signals – A school bus is equipped with special warning lights to warn other drivers that the bus is about to stop.
- Follow the Rules – In order to provide better protection for children using school buses to get to and back from school, every state has a set of laws. When a driver sees the warning lights of a school bus flashing, the driver must stop behind the bus. Passing the school bus is forbidden while the lights are on. Drivers must also never pass a school bus from the right. The doors of the bus are located on the right side and students get on or off from there.
Parents’ Safety Awareness
There are steps every parent can take to improve the safety of their child when stepping on or off the school bus. For example, parents should let their children know that it is okay to leave something they may have forgotten in the bus behind. It is also imperative to advise children to not, under any circumstances, go under the bus.