School Bus Safety

School buses

School buses are the safest vehicles on the road. These highly regulated vehicles are designed to be safer than passenger vehicles in preventing crashes and injuries. Virginia law mandates that traffic stop for a stopped bus with flashing lights and the stop sign extended.

Students are in the greatest risk of injury when they are either approaching a school bus or leaving a school bus. It is important that both students and parents know and understand safe loading and unloading procedures. It is also important that you teach your children other safety procedures that revolve around school transportation processes.

For Students and Parents

  • Students must arrive at the bus stop five minutes prior to the designated bus pickup time and wait in a safe and orderly manner out of the roadway.
  • Students must stop, look, and listen for possible dangers prior to approaching or exiting a school bus.
  • Students must not approach the bus until it has come to a complete stop.
  • Students should never run towards, behind, away from or after a stopped or moving school bus. Students should walk while cautiously observing the environment around them.
  • Students must enter and leave the bus or car in an orderly manner in view of the driver. If they must cross the road, they must do so in front of the vehicle, never behind it. The driver will give an appropriate hand motion to students when it is safe to do so.
  • Students should use the handrail when entering and exiting the school bus. 
  • Students are to remain seated facing the front of the school bus while it is in motion. 
  • No student shall at any time extend head, hands, arms or throw items out of the windows whether the vehicle is in motion or standing still.
  • Aisles in the bus must be kept clear. Personal belongings must be held on the student’s lap.
  • Students must alert an adult when they have dropped an item around any vehicle, including a school bus. 
  • Students may be assigned a seat.

School Bus Danger Zone

The loading and unloading area is called the danger zone. 

The danger zone is the area on all sides of the bus where children are in the most danger of not being seen by the driver (ten feet in front of the bus where the driver may be too high to see a child, ten feet on either side of the bus where a child may be in the driver’s blind spot, and the area behind the school bus).

Half of the pedestrian fatalities in school bus-related crashes are children between five and seven years old.

Young children are most likely to be struck because they:

  • Hurry to get on and off the bus.
  • Act before they think and have little experience with traffic.
  • Assume motorists will see them and will wait for them to cross the street.
  • Don’t always stay within the bus driver’s sight. 

Safety Resources

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