School Bus Safety

More students are killed or injured getting on and off a school bus than while they're inside the bus. Make sure your students know how to get on and off the bus safely. Here's the general procedure:

  • There is a 10-foot danger zone around the bus where children are especially vulnerable.
  • Before the students get off at their stop, the driver will call them to the front of the bus. She will tell the students who are not crossing the street after unloading to go directly to their house and not to return to the bus. The students who are crossing the street after unloading must walk several feet forward to stand by the bus crossing gate and then look to the driver. When she sees that it is safe for them to cross the street, she will wave them across. If she sees any sudden danger, she will honk her horn and that means they must stop immediately and look to her for instruction. The driver will count the students as they exit the bus, and then count them again when they are outside and when crossing the street. When they are all safe, the bus driver will then check traffic and drive away.
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  • Loading is the reverse. The bus will stop about 10 feet from them. They will wait for the driver to wave them forward to the bus, and then they enter the bus single file. She will count them when they are standing outside and then again as they file in. They should sit in a seat and keep their belongings out of the aisles, securing them so they do not fly around in case of an accident.
  • At a railroad crossing, the driver will tell the students to be quiet so she can check for approaching trains.
  • In case of an accident, 2 older students will be trained to help evacuate the bus and help the driver and the other students.

These are just the general rules. You'll want to check with your school to be sure that you and your students know what's expected of them on their school bus this year. It's important information that they need to know.

August 1, 20070 found this helpful

These are wonderful tips and things that every bus driver should certainly be doing. However, most drivers never see the cars that hit children crossing the roadway. As we all know a vehicle can be in the danger zone in a blink of an eye. It's so very important that the drivers of these vehicles watch for these children also. When operating your vehicle never, ever go around the stop arms of a bus.

I know what you're thinking "who would do that?!!!" but it is done every day. The most dangerous drivers will actually go around the bus on the door side of the bus. Vehicles will try their best to beat a bus by pulling out in front of it or racing around it so they are not "stuck' behind a school bus. These are dangerous practices in many ways. Keep in mind that this is a bus, it will not stop on a dime and if this bus hits your vehicle you are going to injured or at the least your vehicle is going to have quite a lot of damage.

Do not tailgate a school bus, if a bus must stop suddenly or if you're not paying close attention you most likely will not hit the back of the bus but your vehicle will go under the bus which could lead to your decapitation. If you must pass a school bus be certain that you have plenty of time to return to the correct lane, though drivers are trained in defensive driving they are mostly trained in keeping their passengers safe. Leaving the roadway is more dangerous for the 63 children on bus than you hitting the oncoming car head on.

Of course bus drivers are going to try to get out of your way, but sometimes that's not possible. There could be children standing in the area waiting for a bus so your well being is not going to be the first thing the driver is concerned about.

If you're a parent and your child has missed the bus, don't try to chase the bus down and put your child on the bus, say like at a stop sign. (yes people do this) Don't drop the child off if you're sitting behind the bus at a bus stop. The bus driver may not see you or your child and there is the potential for your child to be ran over by the bus.

Please don't pass a school bus if you have every intention of making a turn off the road within several blocks, it takes time for most buses to build up speed and takes time to stop these buses.

If you're a driver that gets aggravated when getting stuck behind a bus here's a few suggestions. 1) leave your house a few minutes earlier or later. 2) If possible take a different route to work, it might be longer in miles but quicker in time if you're not being held up. If you are "stuck" behind a school bus, remember to 1) be patient and considerate. This bus driver has enough responsiblity with out having to deal with a unthinking, ill considerate driver. 2) Don't take chances with your safety and the safety of children it's better to be late than never to get there at all. And lastly keep in mind that there is probably at least one of those children that you know either directly or indirectly, do you want to be responsible for cutting their little lives short because you were running a little late? Think about it!

Karen

a school bus driver in Florida

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August 3, 20070 found this helpful

An important thing that all bus drivers tell their children everyday is to, "not return to the bus once they've left it, for any reason." Parents need to be made aware of this--there is a good reason for it. Drivers are unable to see the child and that child may get run over.

My husband is a driver and had a scare on the last day of school last spring that really shook him up. He dropped a child off and continued on to the next stop where he left the next load of children off. A child from the previous stop left something on the bus. The parent jumped into her car with her child, caught up with the bus, and made the child run to the bus to retrieve the item (a small ball). After the group of exiting children safely crossed the street, my husband shut the door and lifted his foot from the brake. The child who left his ball reached into the bus, got his clothing caught in the closing door (the child was not in the door at all), and was starting to be dragged. This child was not at the door when my husband closed it, but in just that split second, a terrible accident could have happened. Luckily, my husband saw the child out of the corner of his eye and stopped the bus again. This child came close to being dragged and maybe would have ended up being run over, all because the parent didn't want to drive to the bus garage to retrieve the plastic ball. My husband, who has an impeccable driving record, came close to quitting. I cannot tell you how much this incident affected him.

A bus has blind spots. Never, for any reason, allow your child to return to a bus once he/she has exited it. They are much too precious for anything to happen to them. There is a reason for bus rules, and parents must familiarize themselves with those rules.

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