In the United States, 23 million students take the bus back and forth to school daily. However, is taking a bus still safe for students? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), school buses are the safest mode of transportation for children traveling to or from school. Students are also 50 times more likely to arrive to school safely if they take the bus rather than riding with friends or driving themselves.
School bus accident
On Monday, September 21, 2015 in Indianapolis, a school bus on its way to Indiana Middle School went off the road and struck a guide wire to a utility pole. This resulted in a power outage. School bus driver Janet Kay Shaw had 21 student passengers at the time of the accident. She was able to regain control of the vehicle and made it to school.
No serious injuries were reported although students reported experiencing headaches and minor aches among many others. Shaw, on the other hand, was suspended and is facing criminal charges including reckless driving and operating while intoxicated endangering a minor.
Maintaining school bus safety
Unfortunately, a school bus accident can affect more than just its passengers. It can affect pedestrians around the bus or students getting on or off the bus. Every year, an average of 11 occupants and 13 pedestrians, all school-age children, die in school transportation-related crashes. That’s why it’s so important to talk to your children about school bus safety as well as staying safe around school buses. Here are a few tips you can share with your children:
- First, tell them not to wear headphones or listen to music while waiting for the bus, crossing the street or inside the bus. Your child needs to pay attention to their surroundings, and these devices make hearing instructions or approaching vehicles more difficult.
- When waiting for the bus to pick them up, make sure they stay away from the street. They should wait for the bus to stop completely before getting on or off.
- Should your child drop anything underneath the bus, tell them to never pick it up themselves. Have them ask the bus driver for help so they can help your child pick it up.
- When inside the bus, teach them to seat and behave properly. Tell them to not make any noise that will distract the driver and to never put their arms, head or even pieces of paper out the window.
- Most important, respect and be polite to the driver. The bus driver may not be able to keep watch over each one of the passengers, especially since they need to focus on the road. For a safe ride, teach your children to cooperate and listen to instructions.
As a Kentucky Child Accident Attorney, I know it’s hard to hear about accidents involving children. There’s nothing wrong with letting our children take the bus, but it’s also a good idea to teach them a few safety precautions. Let’s work with bus drivers and school authorities on this so our children can make it to and from school safely.