Many California parents rely on the convenience, reliability and safety of school buses to get their children safely to and from school each day. This unique source of transportation is especially beneficial to families who live further from school boundaries or have an unreliable vehicle. For working parents who experience scheduling conflicts, the ability to rely on a school bus is both reassuring and stress-reducing.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, school buses are proven to be a safer alternative to any other type of vehicle on the road. Buses are innovatively compartmentalized combining a solid structure of high, heavily padded seatbacks and a skeleton of steel designed to be energy-absorbing, to protect riders in the same way that eggs are positioned in a carton. Bus riders are not exempt from injury if involved in an accident, and some crash investigators suggest compartmentalization is not enough and that a secure 3-point harness would allow for maximum safety.
While children are mostly protected while riding a bus due to its strategic design, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggests additional tips to enhance a child’s safety around a bus. These include the following:
- Children should wait until the bus stops completely before approaching the doors, and use the handrails for optimal balance and safety.
- It is important to always cross the street in front of the bus and only in designated crossing areas. Children should be encouraged to stay on a sidewalk until they are at least 10 feet ahead of the bus. Once eye-contact has been established with the bus driver, a child is safe to cross the street.
- Children should wait about six feet from the edge of the curb while waiting for a bus. Parents should remind them that playing at the bus stop can cause distraction and be dangerous.
School buses are nearly seven times as safe as any other light truck or passenger car traveling on the road.