U.S. children made approximately 51,000 emergency room visits between 2001 and 2003 for injuries resulting from school bus-related accidents, according to a study recently published in the journal Pediatrics. Researchers note that kids between 10 and 14 years of age accounted for the greatest proportion of injuries. Most of those injuries (43%) were the result of motor vehicle accidents, and roughly a quarter happened as a child was approaching the bus.
According to the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA), 23 million students nationwide rely on buses to get to school. The agency offers the following recommendations to help reduce the number of school bus-related accidents, and to protect your children and yourself as children begin returning to school this fall:
TIPS FOR DRIVERS:
- When backing out of a driveway or leaving a garage, watch out for children walking or bicycling to school.
- When driving in neighborhoods with school zones, watch out for young people who may be thinking about getting to school, but may not be thinking of getting there safely.
- Slow down. Watch for children walking in the street, especially if there are no sidewalks in neighborhood.
- Slow down. Watch for children playing and congregating near bus stops.
- Be alert. Children arriving late for the bus may dart into the street with out looking for traffic.
- Learn and obey the school bus laws in your state.
TIPS FOR CHILDREN:
- Get to the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive.
- When the bus approaches, stand at least three giant steps (6 feet) away from the curb, and line up away from the street.
- Wait until the bus stops, the door opens, and the driver says that it’s okay before stepping onto the bus.
- If you have to cross the street in front of the bus, walk on the sidewalk or along the side of the road to a point at least five giant steps (10 feet) ahead of the bus before you cross. Be sure that the bus driver can see you, and you can see the bus driver.
- Use the handrails to avoids falls. When exiting the bus, be careful that clothing with drawstrings, and book bags with straps don’t get caught in the handrails or doors.
- Never walk behind the bus.
- Walk at least three giant steps away from the side of the bus.
- If you drop something near the bus, tell the bus driver. Never try to pick it up because the driver may not be able to see you.
Previously on the D.C. Metro Area Personal Injury Law Blog, we have posted articles related to:
- Summer safety tips from the Red Cross
- School safety tips for parents
- Safety guidelines for children returning to school
- The prevalence of high school football head injuries
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