Back to School Safety Tips - Scott C. Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney
Now that the summer season is coming to its end, parents are preparing to send their children back to school. One safety concern that parents must be aware of is the commute to and from school. Some children walk to school, while others take the bus or are driven by a parent or a carpool.
No matter how your child gets to school, keeping safe is of the highest priority.
A school bus is the most common form of transportation for students. While school buses statistically are quite safe, accidents do happen. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that 1,344 people of all ages were killed in school-transportation-related crashes from 2004 to 2013, and that many others were seriously injured. Many of the fatalities were occupants or drivers of other vehicles that were involved in the collision.
How to Avoid Accidents with School Buses
A school bus is one of the safest vehicles on the road, according to the NHTSA and the American School Bus Council. Buses often have warning flags or arms and flashing yellow or red lights that used at stops in traffic. School buses are painted a bright, visible yellow color and are designed to be at a safe height with reinforced sides. These vehicles are operated by drivers who are trained, tested and screened regularly.
Despite all of these safeguards, accidents occur, often with tragic results. Impatient drivers will attempt to illegally pass stopped buses. Many children have been hit by drivers who fail to stop as required by law. In New York, a first offense has a maximum fine of $400 plus surcharge, five points on your license and up to 30 days in jail.
Buses make many stops along the street or road, so it is important that drivers keep a safe distance and are prepared to come to a stop. No matter how urgently you need to get to your destination, never pass a school bus unless there is a legal passing lane, and never while the bus is stopped with indicator lights flashing.
Make Sure Your Children Know How To Get On, Ride, And Get Off The School Bus
According to Safe Kids Worldwide, school buses are the safest means of transporting children to and from school. Regardless of this fact, children still manage to get injured on and around buses. From 2009 to 2014, more than 300d school-aged children were killed in school-transportation-related accidents. Of those deaths, over 35% were pedestrians, killed while getting on or getting off the bus.
Here are tips to help keep your children safe on the way to school:
- Walk with your children to the bus stop and wait with them until it arrives. Show them how to stand at least three giant steps back from the curb when the bus is approaching.
- Wait for the bus to stop before boarding, and always board the bus in a single file line, one at a time.
- If your child needs to cross, make sure they cross far enough in front of the bus for the driver to see, and always make eye contact with the driver before crossing. Never cross behind a bus.
- Younger children should use the handrails when boarding or exiting the bus. Teach your children not to be afraid to let the bus driver know if they need help, especially if they drop something, or an article of clothing or backpack gets caught on the door.
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: Traffic Safety Facts 2004-2013 Data, School-Transportation-Related Crashes
- New York State: Be Smart. Share The Road With School Buses.
- Safe Kids Worldwide: Safety Tips – School Bus Safety