School is right around the corner, which means that our days of playing in the sun will be tucked away until next summer. Backpacks will take the place of beach pails as our students get ready to tackle another year. Like all transitions, it will take some time to adapt to the new schedule and the many activities that come along with the school year, and one of the biggest adjustments will likely be getting used to the school buses on the roads every morning and afternoon. Approximately 400,000 Massachusetts students are transported by school buses every year. Most school bus-related injuries are to students who are pedestrians who are getting on or off a bus. They are struck by either passing traffic or the bus itself. Children ages 4-7 are at highest risk of injury. The traffic during peak driving times and the dropping off and picking up of students, is likely to cause more accidents.
We Have A Few Tips That Will Help You Navigate Your Way Through The Best Practices For Bus Safety
Be prepared. Before the school year starts, be sure to get your hands on a school schedule and determine which stop your child will be leaving and arriving from. Show your child the bus stop and the area where they should be waiting, which is at least three giant steps (six feet) away from the curb. Explain to your child that a bus stop is not a place to run around and play.
- Proper boarding. Before your child approaches the bus door, the bus should come to a complete stop and the driver needs to give the okay that it’s ready for boarding. Encourage your student to use the handrails when getting off and on the bus because the steep stairs can result in unnecessary injuries.
- Use caution around the bus. Both drivers and students need to be well aware of buses on the road. Your child should never walk behind a school bus and if they need to cross the street in front of the bus, be sure that they walk on a sidewalk or along the street until they are at least five giant steps, or 10 feet, in front of the bus before they step out and cross. Drivers need to be just as attentive and also be extra cautious when backing out of driveways, because children may be close by, walking or on bikes traveling to school. Also, be alert near bus stops even after the doors have closed because oftentimes, children who are running late, dart out into the road in pursuit of getting onto the bus.
- Obey the laws. The school bus laws in Massachusetts are put in place for a reason. Yellow flashing lights are a signal that the bus is getting ready to stop to unload or load children. Always slow down and be prepared to stop. You will know that the bus has stopped when the red lights flash and the extended stop arms are raised. By law, you are required to stop your vehicle and remain stopped until the red lights stop flashing, the extended arm is withdrawn, and the bus starts moving again.
Carelessness Can Lead To Bus Accidents
The bus is known as the safest vehicle on the road and the majority of accidents involving buses and students, are due to other careless drivers on the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), less than one percent of all traffic fatalities nationwide, occur on a school bus each year, making them known as the vehicle that is most safe and has the most diligent safety procedures in place. With this said, the biggest threat to your child is not riding a bus but approaching and leaving a bus. For this reason, you will need to be diligent about making sure you are up-to-date on the school bus schedule. Most schools are fairly thorough about communicating any changes to a bus route, and they will share the updates in a variety of ways. Nowadays, the majority of school announcements are shared on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and school newsletters that show up in your email inbox. Be sure to read these announcements carefully so you are in the know when the first day of school
Has Your Child Been Injured In A School Bus Accident?
We hope you and your student enjoys a safe and successful 2018-2019 school year. If you have ANY questions relating to Massachusetts School Bus Safety or you or someone you know has suffered an injury involving a school bus contact us our personal injury attorney immediately and let us answer your questions.