Keeping Children Safe Around the School Bus
Riding the school bus is a great way to get children to and from school. It’s a lot safer than other methods of transportation and provides reliable access to education for about 26 million students each year. However, there are still risk factors associated with riding the school bus that parents, children and motorists need to be aware of.
Motorists risk children’s lives when they fail to stop for the school bus as it loads and unloads its passengers. Yet it’s estimated that over 10 million drivers illegally pass school buses every year. To bring attention to the issue, this year’s National School Bus Safety Week theme is #StopOnRed!
Next week, communities everywhere will celebrate this annual observance by finding creative ways to spread the word about keeping children safe. Schools, students and parents are encouraged to shine a light on stop arm laws in their state and let motorists know they play an important role in protecting the lives of children.
The #StopOnRed! theme reminds drivers there is no safe way to illegally pass a school bus within the roadway as it drops off or picks up passengers—regardless of the direction of approach. The safest way for motorists to be prepared to stop when those flashing red and yellow lights go on is to slow down and maintain a safe distance when sharing the road with the school bus.
Parents can do their part by supervising younger children at the bus stop and talking to their kids about ways to stay safe:
- Allow time to get to the bus stop a bit early; running for the school bus lends to safety risks.
- Stay three giant steps away from the road.
- Don’t approach the school bus until it comes to a complete stop and the door opens.
- When crossing in front of the school bus, wait for the OK from the bus driver to cross and stay at least five giant steps (10 feet) in front of it.
- Before stepping into the roadway, check for passing cars from each direction.
- Never walk behind the school bus.
- Don’t pick up an item dropped outside of the school bus without getting permission from the bus driver first.
Let others know that putting children’s lives at risk is not OK. Take a pledge to brake for the school bus and #StopOnRed! Report aggressive drivers to your local authorities and spread the word about keeping children safe through the resources available at schoolbusfacts.com.