School buses are considered the safest mode of transportation, but that doesn’t mean they’re crash-proof. Safety measures still need to be taken seriously. If they aren’t, then potentially fatal crashes will happen. In September of 2015, a 5-year-old boy died after being hit by a school bus. Jayden Hawkins, a kindergarten student from Butler County, had just gotten off the bus in front of his grandmother’s home when the incident happened. A separate incident occurred in March of 2015 when a 10-year-old boy was killed after being struck by a school bus.
These two tragic events prompted State Representative Jim DeCesare to file Bill Request 366. This bill aims to boost education and training for school bus safety. The bill has three parts, which include additional training for bus drivers and raising awareness about bus safety among young students. The bill also requests the involvement of the Kentucky School Boards Association in providing model policies to school districts to help keep students safe.
- Each day, around 25 million students ride a school bus to school.
- The school bus is widely considered as the safest form of transportation as it’s specifically designed for safety – equipped with giant mirrors, painted in the hard-to-miss bright yellow color and built with high seat backs.
- According to the National Safety Council, riding a school bus is 13 times safer than taking a family vehicle to school and 10 times safer than walking.
- As per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 1,214 school transportation-related crashes from 2004 to 2013. This accounts for 0.4% of the 340,039 total number of fatal motor vehicle traffic crashes in that time period.
- Occupants made up 8% of the fatalities while non-occupants accounted for 21%. This goes to show that even non-students or pedestrians can be victims in crashes involving school buses.
Maintaining safety in and around school buses
Even though school buses are one of the safest forms of transportations, students and drivers need to know what to do in and around school buses. When it comes to safety in the school bus, students need to keep their belongings out of the aisle and keep the area around the feet clear. They also need to listen to the bus driver. When the bus is approaching the student’s stop, they should always stay behind the white line towards the front of the school bus. When it’s time for the student to get off or on the bus, they need to wait for the bus to come to a complete stop.
As drivers, we can help protect students and bus drivers by knowing what to do around school buses. One thing we should always do is to stop when the school bus has its red flashing lights on and stop sign extended. Even on a road with multiple lanes going in the same direction, do not pass the school bus. You never know when a student could be crossing the street to get to or off the school bus. We need to be aware of our surrounds whenever we drive, but it’s especially important when driving through a school zone and around school buses. We need to always be mindful of children crossing the road to get to the school bus or to get to school.
As a Kentucky Child Accident Attorney, I like that state officials and other local organizations are promoting school bus safety. No parent, driver or school officer wants young students to get hurt in incidents that can be prevented. However, we need to work together to make sure that students get back home safe every time. It’s also important to remember that students have a responsibility, too. Students need to understand how to stay safe on and around the bus as well as how to properly behave on the bus. By following these safety precautions, we can help prevent crashes and protect students.