Things You May Not Know About School Bus Safety

Maybe you’re a parent of a child starting school and will be taking the bus for the first time, or your child will need to start taking the bus to and from school.
Do you feel a little nervous about letting your child ride the bus? Don’t worry, he or she is not alone. Over 25 million children, throughout the U.S., take the bus to and from school on a daily basis and a majority of the time, they arrive without incident.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), school buses are over 50 times safer than a car, but injuries and accidents can still occur. Here are some things you may not know about school bus safety:
Seat Belt Use
In most states, it’s illegal to ride in a car without wearing a seat belt. You may think the same goes for school buses, but only six states (California, Louisiana, Texas, Florida, New Jersey, and New York) require seat belts on school buses; federal law requires seat belts on all small buses.
If you live in a state that doesn’t require seat belt use on buses, you can become an advocate and urge your lawmakers to make it a law.
Laws Protect Students Getting On and Off the Bus
Although seat belt use is not required across the U.S., it is illegal for cars to pass a school bus when passengers are getting on or off of the bus. Each state has specific laws regarding passing a school bus and things like distance.
Unfortunately, not all drivers are aware of or follow the rules. It’s important to educate your child and make sure that he or she knows how to get on and off a bus safely and how to cross in front of a boss.
Education Safety
At the start of every school year, educators and bus companies partner together and work on educating students on bus safety. Although many school districts do a good job and stress the importance of being a safe passenger, you should never assume that your child is getting all the information that he or she needs.
Talk with your child’s teachers and ask how they teach bus safety. If you feel like any important information is missing, fill in the gaps. You may also want to consider becoming part of an advocacy group, volunteer to help educate, or talk with the school board about any concerns.
School Bus Drivers
Being a school bus driver is a difficult job and isn’t for everyone. Some bus companies and states have stricter screening policies than others (such as screening for sleep apnea, which can cause drowsy driving).
If you are worried that your child’s school bus driver may not be experienced enough or you question his or her background, voice your concerns with the bus company or your child’s school. As a parent, you deserve to know that your child will be safe on a school bus.
School Bus Safety
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