Sharing the Road with School Buses
Each day, our nation’s school bus drivers transport their precious cargo from home to school and back again. But school bus safety is not only the responsibility of the bus driver — it is shared with every motorist on the road.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) approximately 394,000 public school buses travel 4.3 billion miles to transport 23.5 million children every year. Since 1984, on average, only 11 passengers per year have died in school bus crashes. That makes school buses one of the safest forms of transportation on the road.
The majority of school bus related accidents involve children who are either boarding or getting off the bus. About a third of these involve another vehicle that doesn’t yield to the bus’s red flashing lights.
The Bus Stops Here . . . And You Should Too
A school bus flashing its yellow lights is a signal that you should be preparing to stop. A bus flashing its red lights has the same meaning as a red traffic signal: STOP. Failure to do so can create a hazardous situation and result in fines up to $1,000.00.
Motorists should also keep in mind that there is a 10-foot danger zone on each side of the bus. The danger zone is the bus driver’s a blind spot and is the area in which most accidents occur.
When you’re sharing the road with school buses, remember to follow these rules:
•DO NOT pass a school bus until the red lights are turned off.
•ALWAYS stop for a school bus’s red lights when traveling in the same direction as the bus.
•CHECK the law in your state regarding traveling in the opposite direction across a divided road. Some states require that you stop then, too.
•NEVER pass on the right side of the bus. Besides being illegal, this is where children enter and exit. Doing so can have tragic results.
Children Ages 5-18 Killed in Crashes by Vehicle Type
Light Trucks and Vans1,425
Passengers fatally injured on a school bus (all ages) 3Source: NHTSA 2002