Approximately 119 school-age pedestrians have died in school transportation-related collisions since 2003, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. About 30 percent of those fatalities involved another vehicle in addition to the school bus. Such crashes are most likely to occur during two windows of time – from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Of course, that’s when students are getting on and off the buses.
Drivers need to be especially cautious and attentive when driving near a school bus, so they’re prepared to stop suddenly as the bus loads and unloads its passengers. Trouble arises when impatient drivers attempt to pull around a stopped bus, unaware of the kids entering or exiting it. School buses are typically very large, so their height and width obstruct the vision of drivers in vehicles behind the bus.
State laws dictating driver behavior near school buses vary. To access a list summarizing the different state laws, click here.
Additionally, here are some tips from esurance on how to share the road safely with school buses. You might want to pass them along to fleet drivers as a friendly reminder.
- If you see a school bus in your lane or traveling toward you, pay close attention to what it’s doing. Give the bus extra space and prepare to stop suddenly.
- Keep a close watch out for kids getting on or off the bus. Always pay attention to, and comply with, stop signs or signals on the bus. In every state, it’s illegal to pass a school bus that’s loading or unloading students.
- Remember, school buses are required to stop at railroad crossings, so be ready to hit the brakes if you’re behind one approaching a crossing.
- School buses travel at slower speeds, so expect to slow down. Pass only when the bus driver signals you to go by.
- School buses occasionally travel in caravans. If a school bus in front of you has another bus in front of it that’s letting kids on or off, you must stop for that bus as well.
To watch a video about sharing the road with school buses, produced by the State of Washington, click on the photo or link below the headline.