School buses are known as the safest mode of ground transportation. They are nearly eight times safer as compared to a normal passenger vehicle. Passenger cars or light trucks have a fatality rate of 1.44 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT), while school buses have 0.2 per 100 million VMT.
Kentucky school bus tragedies
Ironically, Kentucky school buses were involved in two of the most deadly car crashes in U.S. history, the Prestonsburg Bus Disaster in 1958 and the Carrollton Bus Collision in 1988. Each year, around 450,000 public school buses get on the roads and travel around 4.3 billion miles to take children to and from school. Every school day, 23 million children ride big yellow buses. In Kentucky alone, 1,627 collisions involved a school bus in 2011, stated the Kentucky State Police (KSP). These crashes killed five people and injured 506.
School bus tips
Many children are hurt every year by merely getting on and off their school bus. Several factors contribute to these incidents and among those are distracted drivers. It is essential that we talk to our children about school bus safety so they will know how to protect themselves. Remind your kids to stay away from traffic while waiting for the school bus and to wait until the bus comes to a complete stop before getting on. Also, using handrails when stepping into the bus will make sure they won't fall backwards. Since kids are likely to carry their backpacks with them, tell them to keep their belonging out of the aisle to avoid blocking the exit ways. Most importantly, tell them to listen to the driver and behave so the bus driver can focus on the road.
What drivers should do when they are around school buses
As Kentucky drivers, we have important roles to play to keeping children safe around vehicles. Here are few safety tips when driving near school buses:
- Watch out for children when leaving a garage or backing out of a driveway. Check the sidewalks to see if there are kids approaching before getting in your car.
- Drive slowly, especially around school zones and during school days. Always remember that there may be kids crossing the street or walking on sidewalks.
- Familiarize yourself with the school bus laws in your state. In all states, the red flashing lights indicate that the bus has stopped and that children are getting on or off. Yellow flashing lights mean the bus is preparing to stop.
- Be extra cautious. Kids have a tendency to suddenly dart into the street.
As a Kentucky Accident Attorney, I would love to see the number of road accidents decrease. It's never fun to hear about any accident, but it's even harder to listen to an accident that involves kids. Please always be on the lookout for kids when you drive, especially if you live in a neighborhood or in a city. Also, if you're driving through a school zone, make sure pay attention to the speed limit. Speed limits decrease when kids are arriving at school and are leaving school.