Boarding the Bus: What Kids Need to Know

HIGH POINT, N.C., Aug. 16 /PRNewswire/ — With approximately 10 billion student trips per year, school buses are the largest mass-transit program in the United States. And those familiar yellow buses have a safety record unequaled in the transportation industry.

Modern school buses are equipped with more safety equipment than any other vehicle on the road, providing an extra margin of safety, says John O’Leary president and CEO of Thomas Built Buses, the leading manufacturer of school buses in North America.

“The size of the bus alone is an important advantage, but today’s buses also have flashing lights, reflective devices and swing out stop arms to indicate when the bus is loading and unloading passengers,” O’Leary says. “Most buses have several emergency exits, protected fuel tanks and rollover protection that reduces the likelihood of a roof collapse.”

O’Leary suggests prepping your child with a few tips to make ensure a smooth and safe school bus ride.

— Wait at the designated area until the bus comes to a complete stop. No
horsing around, shoving or playing at the bus stop.
— The driver is your friend. Learn her name and be courteous.
— Take your seat without delay.
— Once seated, keep your belongings with you and stay in your seat until
the bus arrives at your stop.
— It’s best not to eat or drink on a bus.

The Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences estimates that every year more than 800 school-age children are killed as occupants in other motor vehicles or as pedestrians or bicyclists during normal school transport hours.

“Most of these deaths could be prevented if children rode in school buses,” says Michael Martin, executive director, National Association of Pupil Transportation. “School bus occupant fatalities have averaged about six per year for the last 10 years. Parents need to know that, hands down, the school bus is the safest way to and from school.”

Motorists illegally passing stopped school buses remain one of the biggest safety hazards for children. Unfortunately, a lot of drivers don’t obey the law and stop for school buses. Talk to your child about the importance of paying attention when getting off a school bus. Teach him to stop, look and listen before crossing the street and practice until you’re sure he can do it safely on his own.

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