School bus safety tips key for all riders

Many students take the bus to school twice a day, five days a week. Approximately 26 million elementary and secondary school children ride school buses daily in the United States, and the U.S. Department of Transportation says more than 50 percent of all K-12 students in the country ride yellow school buses, traveling approximately 4 billion miles each year.

The vast majority of these miles are traveled without incident. In fact, according to the National Safety Council, the national school bus accident rate is 0.01 per 100 miles traveled, compared to 0.96 for other passenger vehicles, which makes school buses considerably safer than other passenger vehicles.

Though school buses are safe, there are other ways to make them even safer. Children, especially those new to school buses, may find the bus fun and unique and not pay attention to simple safety rules.

But parents should take steps to ensure that youngsters always heed the following school bus safety guidelines.

• Wait for the bus in a safe location that is away

from traffic, ideally staying in a designated school

bus stop until the bus arrives.

• Dress for optimal visibility, especially in

inclement weather when it can be difficult for the

school bus driver and other motorists to

see pedestrians.

• Do not board the bus until it comes to a complete

stop. Wait for the driver to open the door, which

engages the “Stop” sign for oncoming motorists.

• Use the handrail and enter the bus in an

orderly manner.

• Promptly find a seat, sit down and buckle the

safety belt if there is one available. Students

assigned seats on the bus should take their seat

without making a fuss.

• Keep backpacks and other belongings out of the

center aisle. Store them under your seat or on

your lap.

• Remain seated at all times while the bus

is in motion.