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.
- Never drive distracted. Please put down your phone. Learn more about the cell phone laws in your state.
- 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.