According to a recent study from the United States Department of Transportation, school buses are by far the safest way to transport children to and from school. In fact, kids are safer riding the bus than they are when driven by a parent or other adult.
However, as with any form of transportation, school buses carry a risk of accidents and injuries to the children (and adults) on board. In addition, school buses are significantly larger than most standard passenger vehicles, which can lead to disparate levels of damage and injury in car-bus crashes.
So how can drivers avoid bus accidents? Here are a few tips.
Follow school bus signals. Most school buses come equipped with yellow lights to indicate that the bus is slowing and a red, extendable stop sign to show that the bus is coming to a stop. In all 50 states, it is illegal to pass a school bus that is stopped with the red stop sign extended. Drivers should always come to a complete stop at least 10 feet away from the bus, remaining stopped until all of the bus lights are turned off and signs are pulled back in.
Watch out for children. Drive slowly through residential areas and school zones, keeping an eye out for kids who are getting on and off the bus but who are crossing the street and standing at bus stops.
Give buses space. Much like large trucks and commercial buses, school buses have a wide turning radius. In addition, they are generally required to come to a full stop at railway crossings.
In summary, simply driving carefully and with awareness will go a long way to prevent school bus accidents.
Source: Pasadena Citizen, “Safely share the road with school buses,” David Silvey, Aug. 21, 2012