Schoolbus and Road Safety


The United States has a highly organized public transport system in many of the states and millions of school children are transported daily to and from schools. Although our transport systems differs significantly it is important to be aware of many of the lessons learnt in the US and to benefit from their experiences. The following are information on school bus safety rules that are applied in the Unites States:

-::- Statistical Information of School Bus Accidents in The Unites States -::-

For some 22 million students in the US, the school day begins and ends with a trip on a school bus. Unfortunately, each year many youngsters are injured and several are killed in school bus incidents.


 School bus related crashes killed 164 persons and injured an estimated 18,000 persons nationwide in 1999, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) and General Estimates System (GES).

Over the past six years, about 70% of the deaths in fatal school bus related crashes were occupants of vehicles other than the school bus and 20% were pedestrians. About 4% were school bus passengers and 2% were school bus drivers.

Of the pedestrians killed in school bus related crashes over this period, approximately 77% were struck by the school bus.

Of the people injured in school bus related crashes from 1994 through 1999, about 44% were school bus passengers, 9% were school bus drivers, and another 43% were occupants of other vehicles.

Although drivers of all vehicles are required to stop for a school bus when it is stopped to load or discharge passengers, children should not rely on them to do so.

-::- The Dangers of School Bus Travel -::-

Although this is regarded as safe transport there are certain dangers , particularly before and after riding the bus.

It is important to remind children about safety on the street and on the school bus. Elementary school children in particular are at high risk of being hit by a car when crossing the street because they:

  • Cannot judge the speed or distance of moving vehicles
  • Are easily distracted and can focus only on one thing at a time
  • Cannot determine the direction of sounds
  • Have a visual field that is one-third narrower than an adult’s
  • Do not understand how much time and distance is necessary for a vehicle to stop
  • Are hidden by parked cars and bushes

Making matters worse, there is an increase in the number of pre-school children being sent to school programs on school buses.

-::- Safety Hints -::-

Parents are encouraged to teach their youngsters these rules for getting on and off the school bus:

  • Dress properly for the weather. Make sure all drawstrings, ties, straps, etc. on all clothing, backpacks and other items, are shortened or removed to lessen the likelihood of them getting caught in bus doors, railings or aisles.
  • Get to the bus stop at least five minutes early.
  • When waiting for the bus, stay away from traffic and avoid roughhousing or other behavior that can lead to carelessness. Do not stray onto streets, alleys or private property.
  • Line up away from the street or road as the school bus approaches. Wait until the bus has stopped to a complete standstill and the door opens before stepping onto the roadway.
  • Wait for the signal from the driver before approaching the bus.
  • Enter the bus in single file.
  • Use the hand rail when stepping onto the bus.
  • When on the bus, find a seat and sit down. Loud talking or other noise can distract the bus driver and is not allowed. Never put head, arms or hands out of the window.
  • Always listen to the driver's instructions. Be courteous to the driver and other students.
  • Listen carefully when the driver or teacher shows you where the emergency exits are.
  • Keep aisles clear -- books or bags are tripping hazards and can block the way in an emergency.
  • Before you reach your stop, get ready to leave by getting your books and belongings together.
  • At your stop, wait for the bus to stop completely before getting up from your seat. Then, walk to the front door and exit, using the hand-rail.
  • Never crawl under a bus.
  • If you have to cross the street in front of the bus, walk at least ten feet ahead of the bus along the side of the road, until you can turn around and see the driver. Make sure that the driver can see you. Wait for a signal from the driver before beginning to cross. When the driver signals, walk across the road, keeping an eye out for sudden traffic changes.
  • Do not cross the center-line of the road until the driver has signaled that it is safe for you to begin walking.
  • Stay away from the bus' rear wheels at all times.
  • Never run back to the bus, even if you dropped or forgot something.

It is also suggested that parents review with their children the correct way to cross the street.

  • Youngsters should always stop at the curb or the edge of the road and look right, then left, and then right again before crossing.
  • They should continue looking in this manner until they are safely across.

If students' vision is blocked by a parked car or other obstacle, they should move out to where drivers can see them and they can see other vehicles -- then stop, and look right-left-right again.

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