Believe it or not, the school bus is the safest way for your child to travel to and from school, as they are designed to be safer than passenger vehicles in both avoiding crashes and preventing injuries. According to the American School Bus Council, students are 50 times more likely to arrive at school safely if they take the bus than if they drive themselves or ride with friends and are even 20 times more likely to arrive at school safely if they take the bus than if a parent drives them.
Of course, every form of transportation, even the designed-for-safety school bus, has room for improvement. That’s why the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) created National School Bus Safety Week (SBSW), an annual public education program designed to promote school bus safety.
From October 21 to 25 this year, the NAPT along with school districts, communities, school bus operators, and school administrators across the nation will be taking action towards improving the safety of school buses while also educating children, parents, schools, motorists, and the public on school bus safety, both on and off the bus.
While school buses are designed to keep your children safe while traveling to and from school, many school bus-related accidents occur outside of the bus. Make sure your child gets on and off the bus safely by teaching them the following safety tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
- Get to the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive
- Stay at least 6 feet away from the curb when the bus approaches
- Never walk behind the bus
- Wait until the driver says it’s ok to get on, then get on one at a time
- When you need to cross the street, take five giant steps from the front of the bus, cross in front of the bus when the driver indicates that it’s safe, stop at the edge of the bus to look left-right-left, and cross if there is no traffic approaching
- Let the bus driver know if you drop something near the bus while getting on or off
- Keep loose items in your bag so that your hands are free to use the handrails
- Find a seat and sit down once you’re on the bus and remain in your seat when the bus is moving
- Respect the school bus driver and obey his or her instructions
Parents should also walk with their children to the bus stop and wait with them until they get on. For more school bus safety tips visit www.nhtsa.gov.