Modern school buses are equipped with a variety of safety equipment to provide an extra margin of safety. The size of the bus alone is an important advantage, but today’s buses also have flashing lights, reflective devices and swing out stop arms to indicate when the bus is loading and unloading passengers. Most buses have several emergency exits, as well.
“Parents can rest easy knowing children who travel on school buses are utilizing the safest means of transportation available,” says John O’Leary, president and CEO of Thomas Built Buses, the leading manufacturer of school buses in North America. “School buses today are built with safety as a top priority but it’s always a good idea to review safety precautions with children who ride the bus.”
O’Leary offers these safety tips for both automobile drivers and bus riders.
* Be aware it is illegal to pass a school bus stopped to load or unload students.
* Know and understand laws governing motorist driving behavior near a school or school bus.
* Learn the "flashing signal light system" that school bus drivers use to alert motorists if they are going to stop.
Students riding a bus should always:
* Stand at least five giant steps (10 feet) away from the edge of the road so the bus driver and others can see them.
* Wait until the bus stops, the door opens and the driver says it’s okay before stepping onto the bus.
* Be alert to traffic. When getting on or off the bus, look left, right, and then left again before entering or crossing the street.
Crossing students should:
* Walk in front of the bus, never behind it.
* Walk on the sidewalk or along the side of the road to a point at least ten giant steps ahead of the bus before crossing the street.
* Be sure the bus driver can see them, and they can see the bus driver.
* Wait for the driver’s signal to cross.
“There is no safer way for a child to get to and from school than in a school bus,” says Derek Graham, president of the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation. “By using the school bus and helping to reinforce the safety rules, parents can be assured their children are well protected.”
Parents and teachers who want to review safety rules and guidelines with their children may visit the Safety and Value page of the Inside Thomas Built Buses section of www.thomasbus.com to download a school bus safety activity book for elementary age students.