National school bus safety week is October 18-24
08-19-2009 (Dayton, OH) -
While carpooling is a common practice in many communities, a school bus is the safest way for children to get to school. Fatal crashes involving school bus occupants are extremely rare events, even though school buses serve children daily in nearly every community.
Getting to and from the bus is actually more dangerous than riding the bus itself. On average, 14 school-age pedestrians are killed by school transportation vehicles (school buses and non-school bus vehicles used as school buses) each year, and 3 are killed by other vehicles involved in school bus-related crashes. More school-age pedestrians have been killed between the hours of 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. than any other time of day. October 18 – 22 is National School Bus Safety Week, making it a good time to teach children how to stay safer around school busses.
“Remind your children about the 10-foot danger zone around the school bus where the driver can’t see them,” says Jessica Saunders, injury prevention coordinator at Dayton Children’s and Safe Kids Greater Dayton coordinator. “To be sure the bus driver can see them – young children should take at least five giant steps away from the bus while entering or exiting the bus. Older kids who must cross the street should look at the bus driver for an ‘OK’ sign before crossing in front of the bus.”
Ten school bus safety tips from Dayton Children’s and Safe Kids Greater Dayton that all children should know:
1. Arrive at the bus stop five minutes early.
2. Stay in a safe place away from the street while waiting for the bus.
3. Stand at least 5 giant steps (10 feet) away from the edge of the road.
4. Wait until the bus stops, the door opens, and the driver says it is okay before moving towards the bus.
5. Have your parents help you check that your clothing does not have drawstrings and that your book bag does not have straps or dangling objects. They can get caught in the door when exiting the bus.
6. If something falls under or near the bus, tell the driver. Never try to pick it up yourself!
7. When you get on or off the bus, look for the bus safety lights and make sure they are flashing. Tell the driver if they are not.
8. Be alert to traffic. When you get on or off the bus, look left, right, and left again before you enter or cross the street.
9. Stay in your seat and sit quietly on the bus so that the driver is not distracted.
10. Some school buses now have seat belts. If you have seat belts on your school bus, be sure to learn to use the seat belt correctly on every ride.
“School buses are, by far, the safest way for kids of all ages to get to and from school,” adds Saunders. “It would be ideal if children did not have to cross a busy street unattended to get to their bus stop. However, regardless of their bus stop location - all kids should stand on the grass or sidewalk while waiting for the bus. Kids should not move towards the bus until the driver has opened the door of the bus and signaled it is okay to enter.”
In Ohio, it is against the law to pass a stopped school bus or approach within 10 feet, and motorists should never pass a school bus with its lights flashing. National School Bus Safety Week is held every year in the third week of October and led by the National Association for Pupil Transportation. Visit www.napt.org for more details.
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