Each year, the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services conducts a point-in-time national survey to assess the frequency of illegal passing of school buses. Their 2018 survey of 108,623 school bus drivers from 38 states reported that 83,944 vehicles passed their buses illegally on a single day. That means that as many as 15 million motorists disregard the School Bus Stop Arm every school year. Recently, tragedies have struck across the nation as students were injured or killed waiting for their school bus. We encourage motorists, caregivers, and students to follow these guidelines to increase school bus safety:
Tips for Parents, Caregivers, and Students:
- Arrive at the bus stop at least 5 minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive. Stand at least three giant steps (6 feet) away from the curb. The bus stop is not a place to run or play.
- When the school bus arrives, wait until the bus comes to a complete stop, the door opens, and the driver says it’s okay before approaching the bus door. Use the handrails to avoid falling.
- Never walk behind a school bus. Walk on a sidewalk or along the side of the street. Cross the street in front of the bus with at least five giant steps (10 feet) between the front of the bus and you. Make eye contact with the bus driver before crossing to make sure the driver can see you.
- If you drop something near the school bus, like a ball or book, tell the bus driver right away. Do not try to pick up the item, because the driver might not be able to see you.
Tips for Motorists:
- Be alert and slow down when driving in neighborhoods with school zones.
- Watch for children walking, playing or assembling near bus stops. Children arriving late for the bus may dart into the street without looking for traffic.
- Obey the school bus laws in your state, as well as the flashing light signal systems used on school buses.
- Flashing yellow lights indicate the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children. Motorists should slow down and prepare to stop their vehicles.
- Flashing red lights and extended stop arms indicate the bus has stopped and children are getting on or off. Motorists must stop their cars and wait until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop arm is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving before they can start driving again.