School bus stop safety is attracting national attention after five children lost their lives and seven other children suffered injuries in five separate bus stop accidents last week. A boy in Mississippi, another in Pennsylvania, and three children in Indiana were hit and killed by motorists while waiting at a school bus stop.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, boarding or getting off the bus in the early morning hours is considered the most dangerous time for students since kids might be waiting for the bus in the dark. While collisions involving school transportation vehicles consist of less than one percent of nearly 325,000 fatal traffic accidents in the United States from 2006 to 2015, over one-third of school students (approximately 102 kids) who died in those types of accidents were on foot and some were hit by school buses.
Despite laws throughout the country requiring drivers to stop and wait for a stopped school bus with a raised stop arm and flashing lights, a National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS) poll on a single school day stated that 32,965 vehicles illegally passed stop buses last year. The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) reported pedestrian fatalities increased by 27 percent from 2007 to 2016, in comparison to a 14-percent reduction of other traffic-related deaths.
Bus Stop Safety for Drivers
Here are several tips for motorists to follow when driving near school buses:
- When driving through neighborhoods with school zones, slow down and keep an eye out for children near school bus stops, walking on the sidewalk or even on the street, or biking to school.
- Remain vigilant for the possibility of children darting into the street without looking out for oncoming traffic or playing near bus stops.
- The “yellow flashing lights” means the bus is about to make a stop to pick up or drop off children. You need to slow your speed and get ready to stop.
- The “extended stop arm and red flashing lights” means the bus has come to a stop and children are either boarding or exiting the bus. You must stop and wait until the extended arm is withdrawn, red lights are no longer flashing, and the bus starts moving prior to driving again.
Bus Stop Safety for Children & Parents
Before your child goes back to school, or if it is their first day, it’s important for you and your child to follow these tips:
- Ensure your child arrives at the bus stop at least five minutes prior to the bus’s scheduled arrival.
- At the bus stop, demonstrate that your child needs to wait for the bus at least six feet (three to five giant steps) away from the curb.
- Tell your children the bus stop isn’t the proper place to play or run.
- Upon the school bus’s arrival, tell your children to wait until the bus makes a complete stop and the door opens before getting on the bus.
- Tell your kids never to walk behind a school bus.
- Before crossing the street, children need to walk on a sidewalk or on the side of the street at least 10 feet in front of the bus and make sure the bus driver sees them by making eye contact.
For more information about school bus stop safety, contact our Atlanta personal injury attorneys at Goldstein Hayes & Lina, LLC today.