Back to School – School Bus Safety at the Bus Stop and On the Roadways in Alabama
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that the school bus is the safest means of transportation for getting your child to school, claiming that riding the bus is much safer than traveling by car. In fact, while it is true that fatal school bus accidents do occur (there are about four to six children killed in school transportation-related accidents every year throughout the United States), the number of school bus accident fatalities comprises less than one percent of all accident fatalities nationwide.
That being said, taking the bus to school isn’t without risks. What’s more, some of those risks extend beyond actually being on the school bus – an accident can occur while a child is waiting at the bus stop, walking to the bus stop, or entering or exiting the bus, too. Furthermore, an accident can occur on the bus even when the bus doesn’t crash. For Alabama parents who sent little ones back to school this fall, here are some school bus safety tips to review.
School Bus Safety at the Bus Stop
School bus safety begins when walking to and waiting at the bus stop. The bus stop is often a social spot for kids, and as such, can be distracting or even dangerous. To be sure, kids at the bus stop may play (running, tagging one another, etc.), roughhouse, or be distracted by chitchat or cellphones. When a vehicle is approaching–whether a school bus or another car on the road–this can be extremely dangerous. Talk to your child about the importance of being aware of their surroundings while at the bus stop, never running or playing, and always standing at least three giant steps back from the curb.
Getting On and Off the School Bus
Getting on and off the school bus doesn’t just refer to navigating the two or three stairs that a child will need to climb in order to enter or exit – it also refers to being aware of any oncoming vehicles, as well as paying attention to crossing in front of or behind the bus. Tips for safely getting on and off the bus include:
- Always use the handrails when entering to reduce the risk of a trip, slip, or fall;
- Never begin approaching the bus doors (when entering or exiting) before the bus has come to a complete stop;
- Do not cross in front of the bus after exiting or before entering – if crossing in front of the bus is necessary, children should do it at a crosswalk, with adult supervision, or/and at least 10 ft. in front of the bus to ensure that the bus driver can see the children; and
- Don’t pick up things dropped near the bus. If your child drops something, such as a backpack or a ball, tell them that they should tell the bus driver and ask the bus driver to retrieve it. A child attempting to retrieve an item that is near or under the bus without the bus driver knowing can have tragic consequences.
While Riding the Bus in Alabama
Once your child is safely on the bus, it is important that they stay in their seat, and buckle up if a seatbelt is available. Remind your child that the bus is never an appropriate location for roughhousing or other forms of physical play.
It is also important to have a conversation with your child about following the bus driver’s directions. Rules are posted, and directions are given, for a reason – that reason usually has something to do with children’s safety. Remind kids to also keep the aisles clear of backpacks and other items, and to refrain from sticking heads, arms, or objects out of the window.
What Should I Do If My Child Is Injured in a School Bus Accident in Alabama?
Even when your child is safe and smart about riding the bus, accidents caused by the negligence of others can have a serious effect on your child’s wellbeing. If your child is injured in a school bus accident in Alabama, our talented Alabama school bus accident lawyers at the law offices of Smith & McGhee, P.C., will advocate for you. To learn more about what to do after a child is injured, please contact us today. You can get in touch by calling our offices at (334) 702-1744 or by sending us a message using the form found on our website. We will reply to your inquiry as quickly as possible.