For 23 million students nationwide, the school day begins and ends with a trip on a school bus. The greatest risk is not riding the bus, but approaching or leaving the bus.
Before children go back to school or start school for the first time, it is essential that adults and children know traffic safety rules.
When the bus approaches, stand at least 15 feet away from the curb and line up away from the street. Avoid distractions, and be aware of your surroundings. Keep your eyes ahead of your walking path. Be extra careful by checking for cars before crossing the street.
Use the handrails to avoid falls. Don't run up the steps. When exiting the bus, be careful that clothing with drawstrings and book bags with straps don't get caught in the handrails or doors. As soon as you exit, walk away from the bus at least 10 giant steps. This way, the driver can see you and make sure all students are clear of the bus and in a safe area when they pull away.
- Arrive at the bus stop 10 minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive.
- Use only your assigned school bus stop, and be sure to respect the property of others on the bus and at the bus stop.
- If you must depart the bus at a different stop than the one to which you are assigned, give the bus driver a written request that is signed by the parent/guardian and approved by the school administrator.
- Always cross in front of the bus making sure to have the driver's attention. Do not cross the street until given the safe-to-cross signal from your driver.
- Parents and neighbors should create a "watch network" to ensure children get to and from bus stops and their homes safely.
At the Bus Stop
- Stand in lines or a group facing traffic so you can see the bus approaching.
- Use the 10-Giant Step Rule: Stand back 10 feet from where the bus will stop. Do not approach the bus until the driver opens the bus door.
- When loading at a school, follow the directions of the driver and/or teacher on bus duty. Remember, there may be several buses to watch out for, not just your own.
- Never go under any bus to retrieve something you've dropped or walk along the side of the bus. Stop immediately and ask the driver or teacher to assist.
- Children should never run after the school bus to catch it, if they miss their ride. Bus drivers may not have visibility so close to the school bus.
Walking to the Bus Stop
- Your family should plan the safest route to the bus stop, with the fewest streets to cross.
- Please use the crosswalk, and look in all directions before crossing.
- Always obey traffic signals, and watch for vehicles that might be making a turn.
- If possible, face traffic when walking on roads without sidewalks and always use caution.
- Be extra careful during times of sunrise and sunset, bad weather and during darkness (wear white clothing or something reflective).