For thousands of students in the DSISD area, the school day begins and ends with a trip on the school bus. School buses are one of the safest forms of transportation on the road today. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, riding a bus to school is 13 times safer than riding in a passenger vehicle and 10 times safer than walking to school. The reality of school bus safety is that more children are hurt outside the bus than inside as passengers. The greatest risk is not riding the bus, but approaching or leaving the bus.
Teaching children how to be safe pedestrians is essential to school bus safety. Beginning with their first step as they leave the house, children must learn how to safely arrive at the school bus stop, board the bus, behave during the bus ride, and exit the bus.
Tips for Safe Bus Loading and Unloading
- Get to the bus stop at least 5-10 minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive. Running after a bus is dangerous.
- When the bus approaches, stand at least 10 feet away from the curb, and line up away from the street.
- Wait until the bus stops, the door opens, and the driver says that it's okay before stepping onto the bus.
- If you have to cross the street in front of the bus, walk on the sidewalk or along the side of the road to a point at least 10 feet ahead of the bus, and watch for the bus driver to signal that it is safe before crossing the street.
- Be sure that the driver can see you, and you can see the bus driver.
- Use the handrails to avoid falls.
- When exiting the bus, be careful that clothing with draw strings, and book bags with straps don't get caught in the handrails or doors.
- Never walk behind the bus.
- Walk at least 10 feet away from the side of the bus.
- If you drop something near the bus, tell the bus driver. Never try to pick it up because the driver may not be able to see you.
Always Avoid the Danger Zones
Additional Safety Tips
- Make sure your child knows their address.
- Pre-K - 2nd grade students should be met at the bus door by a parent or designee.
- Students should always stay seated facing the front.
Safety Tips for Motorists
Most of the children who lose their lives in bus-related crashes are pedestrians four to seven years old who are hit by the bus or by motorists illegally passing a stopped school bus. To help prevent such tragedies, it is helpful to know the proper laws and procedures for sharing the road safely with school buses:
- It is illegal to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children.
- School buses use yellow flashing lights to alert motorists that they are preparing to stop to load or unload children. Red flashing lights and an extended stop sign arm signals to motorists that the bus is stopped and children are getting on or off the bus.
- Traffic in both directions must stop on undivided roadways when students are entering or exiting a school bus (This includes Highway 290).
- The area 10 feet around a school bus is where children are in the most danger of being hit. Motorists should stop their cars far enough from the bus to allow children the necessary space to safely enter and exit the bus.
- Be alert. Children are unpredictable. Children walking to or from their bus are usually very comfortable with their surroundings. This makes them more likely to take risks, ignore hazards or fail to look both ways when crossing the street.
- Never pass a school bus on the right. It is illegal and could have tragic consequences.