Public Safety Tips: Watch for School Buses This Fall!

Written by KOVA Corp

As the school year begins, it is useful to recall that the safety of our children is a common responsibility. Because KOVA cares, we’ve gathered together some tips for public safety officials to share with their communities.

As the holidays end, children who are used to the lazy days of summer suddenly have a new routine: one that often includes a mad rush to catch the school bus. Letting your child ride the bus to and from school each day is a wonderful convenience, but it comes with certain risks. Make sure you and your children understand bus safety to make riding the bus as safe an experience as possible.

Drivers Need to Stop

When you are driving and see the stop arm go up on the bus, you need to stop. Thousands of motorists illegally pass school buses every day. Children can be and have been killed by drivers who did not stop as children were entering or exiting the bus. Each state has different laws regarding when it is illegal or legal to pass a stopped school bus. Generally, you must stop when you see red lights flashing and the stop arm up when you are behind the bus or across the street, approaching the bus. In many states, if you are on the other side of a four-lane highway divided by a median, you then would not have to stop. Check your state laws so you know the rules of the road.

Children Need to Look Both Ways

You cannot go over the basic rule for crossing the street enough times with children. Teach them to look both ways before crossing the street when heading to the bus. They must look to the left and then look to the right. They should do this twice before crossing.

Getting on the Bus with Others

It can become crowded at the bus stop, so children need to learn proper crowd behavior. When the bus is arriving, all children should form a line. The line should not start in the street. It should start about 10 feet from the curb. Children need to wait until the bus comes to a complete stop. The driver will then open the door and invite them in. Children should never enter the bus until the driver says it's OK. The bus driver has the best view and can usually spot an oncoming car better than a child can. Children should also wait for the bus driver to put on the flashing lights that signal traffic to stop.

Riding the Bus

In the excitement to find friends already on the bus, some children might push and shove to get to a seat quickly. Remind your child that he or she should never do that. Another child could trip from being pushed. If the bus has seatbelts, your child should buckle up. Tell your child to not to throw things, jump, run or yell while riding the bus. All that activity can make it difficult for the bus driver to concentrate, which increases the risk of a traffic accident.

Exiting the Bus

Children should exit the bus in the same organized manner they entered it, with no pushing or shoving. They should hold the handrail as they walk down the stairs. Children should not walk behind the bus. Once they exit, they should get on the sidewalk. If they must cross the street, they should do so in front of the bus. If a child drops something while crossing in front of the bus, he or she should never just bend down to pick it up; the bus driver could think the coast is clear and proceed. The child should instead walk to the bus driver and explain that he or she dropped something.

By following these public safety tips, children heading back to school all across the country will be safer. We here at KOVA wish everyone a great – and safe – start to the new school year!


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