Boy using school bus safety by checking his surroundings before he exits the school bus.

School bus safety tips

Whether it's back to school time or later during the school year, here are some tips about school bus safety rules for children, parents and school bus drivers.

School bus safety facts

  • Back to school means taking extra precautions.
  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), less than 1% of all traffic fatalities nationwide are on school transportation vehicles.
  • Every year preventable crashes occur involving school buses.
  • Every state has school bus traffic laws, and it is important for everyone to know what those are.
  • Everything about a school bus is specifically designed for safety — the flashing lights, giant mirrors, color, shape and even the high seat backs.
  • Seat belts play an important role in keeping passengers safe, but school buses have a different kind of safety restraint system than other vehicles that has proven to work well.
  • School bus designs and regulations have changed over the years which helps reduce the risk of injury or accidents for riders.
  • The NHTSA does not regulate vehicles or buses used for transportation to daycares, childcare centers or preschools.

Safety tips for children and parents

  • Review bus stop rules such as waiting away from the road and always crossing in front of the bus, not behind.
  • Wait with the little ones at the bus stop. Make sure you and your child are visible.
  • Teach your kids to stand, at a minimum, three giant steps from the curb and board one at a time using the handrail when getting on and off the bus.
  • If your child needs to cross the street after exiting the bus, teach them to:
    • Look both ways before crossing the street.
    • Look carefully to make sure the bus driver sees them.
    • Take five giant steps in front of the bus.
    • Cross the street only when the driver gives them the go-ahead that it's safe.
  • Teach your kids to wait until the school bus completely stops before getting off, and always walk in front of the bus, not behind.
  • Remind kids to sit quietly while the bus is in motion and follow any additional rules the bus driver has.
  • Teach your child the importance of behaving on the bus since any disruption can cause the bus driver to become distracted and could result in a crash.

Safety tips for school bus drivers

  • Be aware of your environment.
    • Know the neighborhoods you are driving in.
    • Be alert and cognizant of the surroundings and of the riders.
  • Slow down and prepare to stop if another bus is flashing its lights. This means the bus is preparing to stop (yellow) or already stopped (red), and people are getting on or off.

Safety tips for drivers

  • Follow the speed limit and laws especially in school zones and at bus stops.
  • Pay attention to flashing lights and never pass another vehicle with the stop-arm extended.
  • Slow down and watch for children walking in the street, especially when there are no sidewalks.
  • When backing out of a driveway or leaving a garage, watch out for children walking or bicycling to school.

To learn firsthand about school bus safety, read "Don't Mess with Morelia," a State Farm® employee's first-hand story. Also visit Safe Kids Worldwide and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for more information. And if your child is walking or riding their bike to school, be sure to review other kids safety tips for back-to-school-travel.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates). While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. State Farm is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.

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