National School Bus Safety Week will be taking place this year from October 22nd through the 26th, according to the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT). This year's theme is "I see the Driver. The Driver Sees Me."
According to the School Bus Information Clearinghouse, there is no safer way to get a student to and from school than a school bus. Still, we see far too many school bus accidents throughout the country every year. Currently, there are close to 9 billion trips that schools buses take to and from school each and every day. There are close to 500,000 of these buses that transport 25 million kids each and every day.
Our Highland injury attorneys understand that there were nearly 10 kids who were killed in school bus accidents in the country last year. That may not seem like a lot, but when you figure the number of kids who were injured in these accidents, the risk is significant. One of the most dangerous times during a child's journey to and from school is getting to and from the bus stop. During this week-long safety campaign, parents, teachers and friends are asked to talk with their kids about the importance of getting to and from the bus stop safely. It's important that we teach our kids how to be safe when getting on and getting off of the bus as well.
Kids are always urged to wear a helmet when riding a bike and to wear a seat belt when riding in your car, so you might be a little bit surprised to learn that there are no seat belts on school buses. Every time a bus accident makes it into the news, the controversy over these requirements, or lack thereof, is brought back to the forefront. The truth of the matter is that conventional school buses are already designed in a way that purports to meet a different federal safety standard, permitting the lack of lap belts.
It's works under the theory of compartmentalization. We're talking about the thickly-padded seats that are placed close together and the high backs that they have on them. What this design does is creates a compartment meant to protect passengers in a collision.
But it's when these kids are walking to and from the bus stop and when they're waiting for their bus to arrive that we worry the most. These kids are alarmingly close to passing traffic. Talk with your child about the following safety tips to make sure they get to and from their bus stop safely each and every day.
Bus Stop Safety Tips:
-Never allow kids under the age of 10 to walk to the bus alone.
-Always make sure older kids are walking to the bus in pairs or groups, never alone.
-Make sure kids never walk near traffic. Use a sidewalk when one is available.
-Never approach a bus before making eye contact with the driver.
-Look at the driver before crossing the road.
-Never cross the street behind the bus.
-Wait for the bus at least 5 giant steps away from the road.
-Always hold the handrail when getting on and off the bus.