Best Practices for Loading and Unloading School Buses

bus routing software, school bus safety, unloading school buses, loading school buses

shutterstock_388630477.jpgThe laws surrounding the operation of school buses vary from state to state and even district to district, but by utilizing specific best practices, drivers are helping to keep students safe when they enter and exit the bus.

Loading and Unloading School Buses Safely

The vast majority of school-age children who are killed in school bus related crashes annually are killed outside of a bus. Half of the students killed are ages five to seven. Small children are difficult to see, making it critical to follow safety guidelines when loading and unloading buses. Here are some best practices.

  • Educate all riders and remind them to never walk behind a bus. Students should also be asked to stay at least five large steps away from the bus when it approaches a stop and after they exit. If something is dropped, they should tell the driver and not try to pick it up. Riders should also be told that running to catch the bus is not safe.
  • At school, adults should be present to help supervise loading and unloading procedures. Parents should be present at bus stops when younger children get onto or exit the bus.
  • Even if running late, drivers should load and unload students slowly.
  • A bus should never move if a student is within 10 feet on any side.
  • Backing up should only take place when absolutely necessary. When a bus is backing up, the driver’s window should be opened and the horn sounded before the bus begins moving.
  • Consistent signals such as a pointing signal or head nod should be used to let students know when it is safe to cross a street. Waving can be confused as a passing signal to motorists.
  • Students should be counted when entering and exiting the bus to ensure that all children are safe and accounted for.
  • Warning signals should always be used before stopping a bus to load or unload students.
  • Look into all mirrors during the loading and unloading processes.
  • Stay to the right when stopping.

Providing comprehensive training to all drivers is imperative to ensuring school bus safety. If your school district has not done so, materials should be developed that outline safe entry and exit procedures for both students and drivers.

To learn more about school bus routing software and the tools that are keeping students safe, contact the transportation specialists at BusBoss.

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What are your school district’s policies for ensuring school bus safety during loading and unloading? We appreciate your feedback.