According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, 149 school-age pedestrians have died in school transportation related crashes since 1998. Sixty nine percent have been killed by school buses, while 24 percent by other vehicles involved in crashes. Parents should discuss with their children the importance of busing safely along with other transportation risks that involve traveling to and from school. Below are some tips to help the conversation get started:
At the Bus Stop
~Arrive to the bus stop five minutes before its scheduled arrival.
~When the bus approaches, make sure to stand at least 6 feet away from the curb.
~Be sure you can see the bus driver as well as them being able to see you.
~Never walk behind the bus.
On the School Bus
~Children should always stay seating while the bus is moving.
~Do not jump, fight, or make a lot of noise on the bus. This can distract the driver from paying attention to the road.
~Check to see that no other traffic is coming before crossing the street after getting off the bus.
Riding or Driving in a Car
~Obey school bus laws. It’s illegal to pass a stopped school bus when the stop signal is extended.
~All children should wear seat belts or be in a booster seat.
~Teen drivers should wear seat belts at all times abstain from using devices such as cell phones while driving.
Walking to and from School
Riding a Bicycle
~Map out a safe route for your child and walk it with them for a few days so they can become familiar.
~Make sure your child crosses intersections where a crossing guard is present.
~Have children dress in bright colored clothing so they can easier be seen by drivers.
~Start a neighborhood school walk by having a parent accompany a group of kids to school.
~Always wear a bicycle helmet.
~Ride in the same direction as traffic.
~Explain the rules of the road; obey stop signs and traffic lights.
~Be visible with bright color clothes and reflectors.
Also, remember to follow these general safety tips not only during school season, but all year round. Make sure your child knows their phone number, address, your number, and the phone number of a trusted adult. Teach your children not to accept rides from anyone unless you said it’s okay. Finally, tell them if they are being followed they should turn and walk or run in the other direction to find a trusted person to help them, and to NEVER talk to strangers.
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