The Minnesota Department of Public Safety says school buses make at least 10,000 trips each day statewide. In 2012, there were 554 crashes involving school buses in Minnesota, resulting in four deaths and 113 injuries.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, between 1996 and 2006, 159 children were killed in school transportation-related crashes. In those crashes, 73 percent of the children were killed by school buses. Half of the children killed were between the ages of 5 and 7.
Nearly half of all school-transportation related accidents happened between 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. or 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.
KNOW THE LAW
State law requires drivers stop at least 20 feet away from a school bus displaying red flashing lights or an extended stop arm. In 2012, Minnesota recorded 40 crashes involving school buses with an extended stop arm, resulting in 12 injuries and one death.
Please print out or share these tips with your kids, and be attentive and cautious when you encounter a school bus on the road.
WALKING TO THE BUS STOP
- Choose the safest route to the bus stop.
- Walk the same route every day and avoid shortcuts.
- Look left, right and left again for traffic before and while crossing the street.
- Do not enter the street from between parked cars or from behind bushes or shrubs.
- Cross the street at a corner or crosswalk.
WAITING FOR THE BUS
- Stay out of the street and avoid horseplay.
- Arrive at the stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive.
- Always wait for parents on the same side of the street as the school bus loading/unloading zone.
ON THE BUS
- Remain seated at all times and keep the aisles clear.
- Do not throw objects.
- Do not shout or distract the driver unnecessarily.
- Keep head and arms inside the bus at all times.
BOARDING AND EXITING THE BUS
- Wait until the bus comes to a complete stop before exiting.
- Walk in a single file line when boarding the bus.
- Use the handrail to avoid falls.
- Be aware of the driver's blind spot (10 feet around the bus) when walking away from the bus.
- Cross the street at least 10 feet in front of the bus.
- Never pick up items that fell under the bus. Instead, ask the bus driver for help.
- Remove loose drawstrings or ties on jackets and sweatshirts and replace with Velcro, snaps or buttons.
- In preparation for the new school year, the American Automobile Association has launched its 75th annual "School's Open - Drive Carefully" campaign. As part of the campaign, AAA provides these tips for drivers:
- Slow down in or near school or residential areas, and be sure to come to a complete stop at all intersections.
- Look for clues such as AAA School Safety Patrol members, crossing guards, bicycles and playgrounds which indicate children could be in the area.
- Scan between parked cars and other objects for signs that children could dart into the road.
- Always stop for school buses that are loading and unloading students. It's the law.
- Leave a little early so you are not rushed as you travel to work or school.
- Drive with your headlights on - even during the day - so children and other drivers can see you.
These tips were provided by the SAFE KIDS Coalition