Over 489,000 school buses transport more than 20 million children daily nationwide. They provide a safer means to take kids to and from school than traveling by car or walking, per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
However, school bus-related accidents still occur. Deaths and injuries across the U.S. doubled from 2020 to 2021, amounting to 108 and 9,700, respectively.
While unsafe driving plays a significant role, students’ behaviors concerning their bus rides are equally critical. Thus, aside from drivers and school officials, parents must also protect their children from road hazards.
Discussing bus safety
Some parents walk their children to the bus stop. But as their kids age and assert independence, parents allow them to wait for their ride to school and come home on their own. Yet, doing so exposes children to heightened risks.
Thus, parents must deliberately explain to their children how critical it is to build safe school bus-related habits, such as:
- Getting on: They must be at the stop before the bus arrives. As the bus approaches, they must stand a few feet from the curb and remain visible to the driver. They should not step onto the bus until it is at a complete stop and the driver explicitly says they can. They can also use the handrails to keep them balanced and avoid falling.
- Staying on: They must stay buckled up in their seat. They must avoid unnecessary movements, such as walking along the aisle or sticking their hands out the window.
- Getting off: They must check all directions before alighting or crossing the street to prevent sudden and unforeseen traffic changes. They must also not try to pick up a dropped item without warning the driver.
As children do their part in obeying Iowa school bus laws, drivers must also be alert when on the road. After all, they have an obligation to the school, the kids and their parents to deliver their passengers unharmed.
Reaching destinations safely
The unique design of school buses makes them safer than other passenger vehicles. However, catastrophic collisions can still happen despite cautious manufacturing and drivers. In case of a tragedy, it will be wise for parents to work with their legal representative to devise strategies in pursuing liable parties for their child’s injuries and other losses.