As summer comes to an end, many parents will soon place their children back on the school bus every morning with the expectation that they will reach their destination safely. The good news is that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration predicts that children who ride on school buses are 70 times safer than children who ride in motor vehicles to get to school.
Unfortunately, there are a number of heartbreaking stories about young children who are injured and killed in bus accidents each school year. In fact, the Carrollton bus collision, which occurred in Ohio, was one of the worst school bus accidents to ever occur. The 1988 accident, which involved a head-on collision with a drunk driver, resulted in 27 fatalities.
In an effort to reduce the number of school bus accidents that occur each year, the following are some helpful suggestions that can be followed by drivers, students, and parents.
Safety Tips for Children Who Ride School Buses
While school buses are the safest way for children to travel to and from school, there are some steps that students can take to prevent injuries:
- Although not all buses have them, use a seat belt if it is available
- As you get off the bus, make sure that none of your belongings get caught in the handrail or door
- Avoid making loud noises that could distract the driver
- Children who are waiting for the bus should avoid wandering into alleys or streets
- If you drop something close to the bus, inform the driver before attempting to pick up the object you dropped
- If you must cross in front of a bus, walk at least 10 feet away from it before doing so
- Keep bus aisles free from tripping hazards
- Line up away from the street when waiting for the bus
- Make sure to use handrails when boarding a bus
- Remain in your seat when the bus is in motion
- Stay away from the rear wheels of a bus under all circumstances
- Wait until the bus has stopped and its doors have opened before boarding
- Whenever possible, make eye contact with the bus driver before crossing the street in front of a bus
Safety Tips for Drivers Who Share the Road With School Buses
There are several safety tips that drivers should follow to reduce the risk of ending up in an accident with a school bus or school children:
- Be aware that children who are in a hurry to catch a school bus can suddenly dart out into traffic without looking
- Slow down if you see children in the area
- Stay observant of flashing lights on school buses and make sure to stop your vehicle when the STOP sign on the school bus is extended
- When pulling out of your driveway, look out for children in the sidewalk who might be waiting for the bus
- While driving through school zones, slow down and be on the lookout for children
Safety Tips for Parents of School Children
There are some important steps that parents can take to avoid having their children be involved in school bus accidents:
- Consider having children wear bright colored clothing so they can easily be seen by school bus drivers
- Do not allow your children to play running or physical contact games while waiting at the bus stop
- Have your children put all belongings safely in their backpacks so they do not spill or drop anything
- Have at least one adult present at the bus stop to watch over children
- Inform your children to sit quietly and behave themselves while on the school bus
- Teach your children that whenever possible, they should make sure to walk on the sidewalk and not the street
- Make sure that children leave home on time, so they do not have to run to catch the bus
- Teach children to look both ways before stepping off of a bus to ensure there is no oncoming traffic or other hazards
- Tell children that if they drop something near the school bus, they must not rush to retrieve the item
Speak with a School Bus Accident Lawyer
As a parent, you have the right to expect that your children will travel to and from school each day safely. If your child is injured in a bus accident as a result of the negligence of the driver, school, or a driver of another motor vehicle, you should not hesitate to obtain the assistance of an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Contact Kruger & Hodges today to schedule a free initial consultation.