Safeguarding Students Getting on and off the School Bus
published on November 19, 2020 by Sonia Mastros
School buses are among the safest forms of transportation ever created, but there are still times during a bus's route that the students may be in danger - and no situation is more dangerous than when students are getting on or off the bus. One of the most critical elements of school bus safety is protecting students when they are exposed to traffic.
Fortunately, there are numerous strategies a school can utilize to help protect them.
Five Ways To Protect Students at Bus Stops
1. Make Your Stop Arm and Lights More Prominent
Research has suggested one of the biggest reasons drivers ignore stop arms is that they are distracted and don't see the bus stopping in time to stop themselves. This can be mitigated simply by adding more lights to the rear of the bus, and to the stop arm itself. The more visible the bus stopping is, the more likely drivers behind will see what's happening.
2. Consider Stop Arm Cameras
Many districts are finding success adding stop arm cameras to their buses. These work in the same manner as stoplight cameras, capturing the identity of drivers who ignore the stop arm, and sending them a traffic ticket. However, these systems will require the cooperation of your local city government, and possibly even the state, so they aren't the easiest upgrade.
3. Teach Students To Avoid the "Danger Zones" Around the Bus
There are some very large blind spots around a bus, where the driver would not be able to see a student. These include much of the sides, directly next to the bus, as well as immediately in front of models with long noses. Training sessions with students can show them these danger zones, and why they shouldn't be in one if they can avoid it.
Or simply put, "if you can't see the driver, the driver can't see you."
4. Have Educational Outreach To the Community
As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child. Hold informational sessions where you teach members of the public about the dangers surrounding a school bus, and why everyone should make school bus safety a top priority.
5. Avoid Having Students Cross the Street
If at all possible, design your bus routes so that students never have to cross the street - even if it adds a bit to the route time. Good school bus routing software can make these sorts of tweaks to your routes quickly and easily while minimizing extra time or fuel costs.
How does your district protect students when they're getting on or off the bus? Do you have any particularly effective techniques? Let people know in the comments below!