Students are about 70 times more likely to get to school safely when taking a bus instead of traveling by car. That’s because school buses are the most regulated vehicles on the road; they’re designed to be safer than passenger vehicles in preventing crashes and injuries; and in every state, stop-arm laws are in place to protect children from other motorists.*
With school starting back up, the North Dakota Safety Council (NDSC) encourages parents to have a discussion with their children about safety at bus stops. It is important to remind them to always be alert and to teach them simple tips for staying safe:
- Take your children to the bus stop to show them where to wait for the bus and advise them to stay six feet away from the curb.
- Remind them not to get on the bus until it comes to a complete stop, the door opens, and the driver says it’s okay to enter the bus.
- Teach them to cross the street 10 feet in front of the bus so the driver can see them crossing and to NEVER walk behind the bus.
Even if you don’t have kids riding the bus, you can still keep the children in our community safe by avoiding driving through school zones during before- and after-school hours, and by following these simple safety tips:
- When leaving your driveway or your garage, watch closely for children walking or bicycling to school.
- When driving in neighborhoods with school zones, watch out for young people in a hurry to get to the bus or school.
- Watch for children playing and congregating near bus stops.
- Learn and obey the school bus laws as well as the “flashing signal light system” that school bus drivers use to alert motorists of pending actions:
- Yellow flashing lights indicate the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children. Motorists should slow down and prepare to stop their vehicles.
- Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate the bus has stopped and children are getting on or off. Motorists must stop their cars and wait until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop-arm is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving before they can start driving again.
To learn more about the NDSC’s safety programs, including Defensive Driving, teen driver safety courses, and bus driver training, visit www.ndsc.org/trafficsafety.