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Back-to-school school bus safety tips

Safety tips for children and parents as they wait at the bus stop, cross the street, and enter and exit the bus. And tips for bus drivers as they transport the children.

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 these school bus safety facts?

  • Everything about a school bus is specifically designed for safety — the flashing lights, giant mirrors, color, shape and even the high seat backs.
  • School buses are 70% safer than riding in any other vehicle, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
  • Every state has school bus traffic laws.

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.

School bus safety tips

Safety tips for the children and parents

  • 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.
  • 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: o make sure the bus driver sees them, o take five giant steps in front of the bus, and o then cross, only when the driver gives them the go-ahead that it’s 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 disruption can cause the bus driver to become distracted and could result in a crash.

Safety tips for the school bus drivers

  • Be aware of your environment. Know the neighborhoods you are driving in. Be cognizant of kids.
  • Follow the speed limit (and the LAW) especially in school zones and at bus stops.
  • 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. 
  • Pay attention to flashing lights and never pass another vehicle with the stop-arm extended.
  • Slow down. Three minutes is not worth the potential life-changing consequences for a child, or you.

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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