Back-to-School Bus Safety Reminder
TOPEKA – With most Kansas schools now back in full swing, residents will once again see that familiar influx of school buses on the roadway. While school buses are some of the safest vehicles on the road, the greatest danger for children riding buses is traveling to and from the bus stop and getting on and off the bus.
In 2014, 2,221 Kansas school bus drivers reported in a single day nearly 800 instances of motorists illegally passing a school bus. Motorists and schoolchildren alike must remain vigilant, particularly in the hours before and after school when children are most likely to be walking to bus stops and crossing streets to board or exit buses.
2014 Survey on Illegal Passing of School Buses--Summary Results
Yellow flashing lights on a school bus indicate the bus is preparing to stop, and red flashing lights signify cars must come to a complete stop on both sides of the street to allow for children to cross. Motorists should be alert for students walking in the street, especially near school bus stops and always come to a complete stop when the bus displays flashing red lights.
School Bus Drivers have a blind spot of approximately 15 feet around a bus, which can be a difficult concept for younger children to understand. Parents are encouraged to talk with their children about school bus safety and the following tips can help start the conversation.
- Stay alert. Don’t listen to music, text or play games on a mobile device while walking to the stop.
- Follow traffic signals and laws. Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. Until age 10, children should cross the street with an adult. Never run into the street or cross between parked cars.
- Leave early. Be at the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive. Early arrival prevents children from running across a street to catch the bus as it pulls away from the stop.
- Stand back. When the bus approaches, stand at least three big steps away from the curb, and line up away from the street. Avoid the driver’s blind spot.
- Stand still. Wait until the bus completely stops, the door opens and the driver says it is okay before entering the bus. Do the same for exiting the bus. Be careful that clothing with drawstrings and book bags with straps don't get caught in handrails or doors.
- Never walk behind the bus. Children should walk where the driver can see the child and the child can see the driver. Walk at least 10 big steps in front of the bus.
- Watch for motorists. Even though motorists are required to stop when a bus is making pickups or drop-offs, make sure children look both ways before crossing the street.
Together, we can keep our children safe.