School Bus Safety Awareness Is Always Important
School is back in session in Missouri, and school buses are back on the road. The Missouri Highway Patrol has reminded motorists to allow extra travel time during certain times of the day.
With school and school buses, there also comes the added concern of new drivers near high schools. Not only are they young and inexperienced, but they are excited to be driving and extra caution is advised around these high schools at the beginning and ending of the school day.
School Buses and Bus Stops
In Missouri, all school buses carry the sign: “Stop while bus is loading and unloading.”
Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate that the bus has stopped, and that children are getting on or off.
Motorists must stop their cars and wait until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop sign is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving before they can start proceed.
If the road is divided and none of the children need to cross the road, drivers in the opposite lane do not need to stop.
As the statistics on the dangers of distracted driving demonstrate, we all can fall prey to momentary distractions that can have tragic consequences. Driver must exercise heightened awareness in school zones and anywhere a school bus stops. For younger children, new to school and school buses, it is even more critical to teach them the importance of paying attention on and around a school bus.
School Bus Stop Safety Tips
Children need to be reminded to:
- Never walk behind a bus
- Stay six feet from the curb next to the bus
- Stay in sight of the driver if they need to cross in front of the bus (ten feet)
How Many is Too Many?
Bus accidents don’t account for a great deal of traffic deaths. In 2010 in Missouri, there were five fatalities in bus accidents, resulting in two students dying. One student was killed riding a bus involved in a rear-collision accident and one was hit after exiting his bus.
Captain Tim Hull with the Highway Patrol was quoted in a Missourinet story as saying, “while it is a drop of more than 5 percent from the previous year, people need to pay attention, be cautious, watch for other motorists and school children, and review rules with their kids.”
Nationwide, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports than an average of 19 school age children die in school transportation-related traffic crashes each year; six in school transportation vehicles and 13 pedestrians.
These numbers seem small, but given that most accidents involving children and school buses are easily avoided by an extra dose of caution, it seems a small price to pay for one less child killed.