School Bus Safety

Stay Safe Around School Buses

School bus stop sign is flashing and a car is stopped.

The yellow school bus. It hasn’t changed for decades, right? Wrong. It is the most regulated vehicle on American roads today and has gone through many upgrades over the years. And with good reason, there’s lots of precious cargo on board.

Did you know?

  • Everything about a school bus is specifically designed for safety - the color, the shape, even the seats.
  • School buses are, by far, the safest way for children to get to school. Seventy percent safer, in fact, than riding in any other vehicle, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
  • Every state has school bus traffic laws, like the stop-arm law to protect children from motorists.

Still - despite the safety regulations, designs, and laws - there are thousands of school bus-related injuries every year. In 2017, school bus-related crashes killed 95 people according to the National Safety Council.

Every year, preventable crashes occur involving school buses. Here are tips for drivers who share the roads with school buses, as well as some easy lessons to teach your kids about bus safety.

Bus Safety Tips

For Parents of Riders

  • Wait with the little ones at the bus stop. Ensure 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.
  • Teach your kids to wait until the school bus completely stops before getting off, and always walk in front of the bus, not behind.
  • If your child needs to cross the street after exiting the bus, teach them to take these three actions:
    • make sure the bus driver sees them,
    • take five giant steps in front of the bus,
    • then cross, only when the driver gives them the go-ahead that it is safe.
  • And of course, teach them to look both ways before crossing the street.
  • Teach your child the importance of behaving on the bus – any distraction can cause the bus driver to lose focus and could result in a crash.

For Drivers

  • Be aware of your environment. Know your neighborhood. Be cognizant of kids. Consider alternative routes that do not go by schools, especially when children are present.
  • Follow the speed limit (and the LAW) especially in school zones and at bus stops.
  • Slow down and prepare to stop if a school bus is flashing its lights. This means the bus is preparing to stop (yellow) or already stopped (red), and children are getting on or off.
  • Slow down! Three minutes is not worth the potential life-changing consequences for a child, or you.

Please read “Don’t Mess With Morelia,” a State Farm employee’s first-hand story about bus safety.

Visit Safe Kids Worldwide and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for more school bus safety information.

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The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm®. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. Nor is it intended to effect coverage under our policy. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.