Friday, October 17, 2014

Avoiding Accidents at the School Bus Stop

A Bus Driver Pledging Her Commitment to Safety
An average of 33 children die each in school bus related accidents according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. About two-thirds of these accidents occur outside the bus, and the majority of the children involved are between the ages of five and seven years old. Many of these tragedies can be avoided if motorists simply obey the traffic laws as they pertain to stopping for the school bus when loads and unloads students.

As single fathers, we've all probably have all seen a car pass a school bus that has its red lights flashing and the STOP "arm" on on the driver's side of the bus extended. The fact is, whether a motorist is simply distracted or believes he or she is above the law, (see the incredible video news story, below), there isn't much we has parents can do to prevent drivers from passing our school buses, but we can educate our children ways to understand potential dangers and take responsibility for their safety when they board and get off the school bus.

Here are some great safety tips you should share with your school age, particularly your early elementary age, children:

  • Children should carry belongings in a backpack so that they won’t drop things on the way.
  • Arrive at the bus stop five minutes early; students arriving late may be tempted to run across the street, causing them to possibly trip and fall in front of the moving bus or other vehicle.
  • Walk young children to the bus stop and when possible, have older children walk in groups, which are easier for drivers to see.
  • If a child must walk in the street, walk single file, face traffic, and stay as close to the edge of the road as possible.
  • If a student must cross a street, then remind the student to stop, look left, right and then left again.
  • Always cross in front of the bus, never behind, and maintain eye contact with driver. Make sure that child is at least 10 feet, five giant steps, ahead of the bus before crossing.
  • Remind children not to cross until the bus has come to a complete stop, the RED stop lights are activated, the STOP sign “arm” extends, and the driver signals that it is safe to cross.
  • Let children know if they drop something, never pick it up and never crawl under the bus. Instead, ask your child to tell the driver and to follow the driver’s instructions.
  • When exiting the bus, look to the right before stepping off the bus. Impatient motorists may try to pass the bus on the right. Cross in front of the bus and maintain eye contact with driver.
  • If you meet your child at the bus stop after school, wait on the side where the child is discharged. A child can be so excited after school that they forget safety rules and run across the street.

School bus drivers and student management aides often receive 40 hours or more of training each year to safely transport our children to and from school each day. Take a few minutes to review school bus safety rules with your kids, single dad. It's a worthwhile exercise.