As unbelievable as it may sound, there are a large number of fatal accidents which continue to occur in this country involving students while getting on and off the school bus.
According to published figures from the Kansas Department of Transportation and other sources confirm that fatalities and injuries in the loading and unloading zone, rightfully called the ‘danger zone’, accounted for 13 fatal accidents, involving K-12 school children. Of the 13 fatalities, 7 occurred behind the bus and 6 were killed by a passing motorist.
Pedestrian fatalities at the ‘danger zone’ are three times as many as school bus occupant fatalities. This makes the time of getting on and off the school bus, one of the most potentially dangerous part of the bus ride.
The reason why the ‘danger zone’ is potentially so hazardous is because this is the area on all sides of the bus where the children are not seen by the driver (ten feet in front of the bus where the driver may be seated too high or 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).
Considering the rise in such fatalities there have been several mandatory product and design changes in school buses implemented. For instance, the federal rule requires all new buses to have an 8-amp lamp warning system and stop signal arm.
While the number of such accidents in the ‘danger zone’ has significantly reduced over the years, the School Transportation Section of the National Safety Council recommends that training on various aspects of getting on and off the bus should be given both to pupils and students.
Here are some simple guidelines which you could train your child while he is getting ready to get on and off his school bus:
– Avoid any rowdy behavior while waiting for the bus. Stay calm and do not stray on to the streets.
– Remain away from the street as the bus approaches.
– After entering the bus, find a seat and sit down.
– Keep your head, neck and arms inside the bus.
– When the school arrives, wait for the bus to come to a complete halt before getting up from the seat.
– Keep the aisle of the bus clear of clutter.
– Walk at least 10 feet ahead of the bus along the side of the road, if you have to cross the road in front of the bus.
– Wait for the driver to give you the ‘walk’ signal before you start to cross the road.
– While crossing the road, keep your eyes for oncoming traffic.
– Always stay away from the rear wheels of the bus.