School Bus Safety for the New School Year

As fall begins and school buses once again take to the streets, it’s important to remember that safety around these vehicles is a little different than safety around the other types of cars and trucks on the road. Because the areas around schools are typically crowded with students, parents, school employees, and other pedestrians and drivers, there are many opportunities for accidents in a relatively small space. The following are some tips on how to remain safe when you’re dropping off or picking up a child from school or a bus stop, or even if you’re just driving past a school on your way to work.

Drivers should:

  • Watch for the flashing lights on a school bus: yellow indicates that the bus is about to stop, and red indicates that you shouldn’t pass because children are boarding or leaving the bus.
  • Avoid double parking because it keeps other drivers and pedestrians from seeing the street clearly.
  • Avoid blocking crosswalks.
  • Always stop for crossing guards.
  • Never try to pass another driver who has stopped for a pedestrian.
  • Check your mirrors and blind spots carefully for bicyclists as some children bike to school and may not know the rules of the road as well as adult bicyclists.

Children and parents should:

  • Get to the bus stop several minutes early so they don’t have to rush into the street as the bus arrives.
  • Stand well back from the curb as the bus is pulling up.
  • Avoid walking behind the bus or crossing directly in front of the bus.
  • Wait until the bus has pulled away to pick up something you dropped next to it, unless you tell the driver that you’re going to pick it up.
  • Always follow the instructions of the crossing guards and/or bus drivers.
  • Discuss the rules of the road, whether you’re the driver, bicyclist, or pedestrian so that it’s clear who should be doing what and how to recognize a potentially dangerous situation.

If you’d like more information about how to be safe in and around school zones, you can check out the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website for their series on getting to school safely. If someone you care about suffered a personal injury around a school bus, contact Whiting Law for a free consultation.

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