Although parents typically worry about their kids riding the school bus, waiting at a bus stop or getting off a bus after school could be even more dangerous. Earlier this month, six separate accidents at bus stops in Florida, Indiana, Mississippi, and Pennsylvania have resulted in five children being killed and left another seven kids hospitalized for injuries.
According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), crashes involving school transportation such as buses only consist of less than one percent of nearly 325,000 deadly accidents in the U.S. from 2006 to 2015. However, more than one-third (102) of students who passed away from those wrecks involving school transportation were on foot when the accident occurred, either by an ordinary driver or a school bus driver.
In most states, motorists need to stop and wait for when a school bus has stopped with a raised stop arm and lights flashing. In at least two of the accidents we mentioned in the beginning, law enforcement said the bus’s stop arm was raised when the collisions occurred.
Unfortunately, drivers often pass stopped school buses. In a survey conducted by the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS), 20 percent of bus drivers reported that approximately 84,000 vehicles illegally passed their buses. The main causes for these fatalities include reckless driving, distracted driving, distracted pedestrians, and poor infrastructure.
In order to keep your children safe while waiting for the bus or getting off the bus, make sure they follow these safety tips:
- When getting ready for school, your child must put everything in his/her backpack to avoid dropping anything when walking to the bus stop.
- Your child should arrive at your bus stop ten minutes early.
- If you do not walk your child to the bus stop, ensure they walk in groups with other kids since drivers are able to easily large groups rather than one child.
- If your child needs to cross the street, make sure they stop, look left, then right, and then left again before crossing.
- If your child must walk on the street, he/she must walk as close to the edge of the road as possible, face traffic, and walk in a single file when with a group.
- While waiting at the bus stop, do not allow your child to play games.
- Your child must stand at least ten feet from the road while waiting for the bus.
- When crossing the street after getting dropped off, your child should always walk in front of the bus—while maintaining eye contact with the bus driver—and never behind it.
- Your child must not cross the street until the bus has made a complete stop.
- When exiting the bus, your child must look to the right to see if any impatient drivers attempt to pass.
- Your child should never walk while using their cellphone.