According to a recent article by Jeffrey Cassel, the president of School Bus Safety Company, there have been 92 child fatalities in the “danger zones” around school busses in the last eight years. Of these fatalities, 37 were caused by passing vehicles; 24 by being in front of a moving bus; 12 from staying too close to the side of the bus; and 10 from students chasing after busses.
These accidents are tragic, especially since they could have been avoided by implementing simple safety measures.
You may not be able to completely eliminate students crossing the street after exiting the bus, but you can teach students and bus drivers that:
- Students should only cross when the driver indicates that it is safe
- Once the driver gives a predetermined signal, the student should stop at the bumper of the bus and look left and right before crossing
Currently, 26 states have made crossing gates on busses mandatory—and for good reason. In the 20 years Cassel acted as Vice President of Corporate Risk Manager for the Laidlaw group, he oversaw a fleet of busses that grew from 15,000 to 38,000. In the first 10 years that the fleet did not have crossing gates, there were 15 child fatalities.
A decade later, after adding crossing gates to the busses, there was only one child fatality.
Even if your busses don’t have crossing gates, bus drivers can prevent accidents by “counting students away”: If five students exit the bus, the driver should know where each student is before pulling off.
Stay away from the side of the bus
Once students exit the bus, teach them to take at least six steps directly away from the vehicle
No running after the bus
Running after the bus is extremely dangerous and cannot be tolerated. If drivers see students chasing the bus or banging on the side of it, they should stop, but not allow the student on board. By showing the student that there is no benefit to chasing the bus, students will quickly learn not to do it.
To listen to part I of Cassel’s webinar, School Bus Safety Begins and Ends with the Drive, click here.