New clothes, school supply lists and heavy backpacks are all signs that the school year is underway. Yellow school buses are now part of many driver’s morning commute. School Bus Safety week, held each year in October, helps encourage safety for everyone involved.
Getting On and Off a School Bus Safely
Getting on and off school buses is likely the riskiest part of riding a school bus. Often, children have to cross a street to get to the bus stop, which raises the risk of traffic accidents. Other times, children may not wait until the school bus comes to a complete stop before approaching the bus. Make sure children understand basic school bus safety rules, and follow the tips below to help avoid school bus accidents.
Safety Tips for Children:
- Always wait until the school bus comes to a complete stop before approaching the bus.
- Wait until the bus door opens, and the bus driver says it’s okay, before stepping onto the bus.
- Never walk behind the bus, or where the bus driver cannot see you.
- Always stay a safe distance away from the bus and the street—six feet is a safe distance.
- Arrive at the bus stop five minutes early. When children run to catch a waiting bus, they may not be looking for cars as they cross the street.
Safety Tips for Drivers
Drivers have a responsibility to know and obey the rules about school buses. This also means looking out for children who may be rushing to get to a bus, or not paying attention to other traffic. Drivers also need to be aware of school zones and neighborhoods, and make sure to slow down in these areas. Finally, and most importantly, red flashing lights on a school bus mean that all drivers – in all directions – must STOP. Make sure you know all your state and local rules about school buses- obeying these rules can help keep children on school buses much safer.
About the Author: Edward Allen is a personal injury attorney at the Allen Law Firm, where he serves as the managing partner of the Fredericksburg office. He has more than 25 years of experience handling a variety of cases including car accidents, truck accidents, traumatic brain injuries, and premises liability. He has been named a Virginia Super Lawyer since 2011 and has been listed in Best Lawyers of America since 2010.