Back to school: Bus safety tips

Back to school: Bus safety tips
Photo provided by MGN/ALA

POSTED: Monday, August 19, 2013 - 7:00am

UPDATED: Monday, August 19, 2013 - 9:52am

You know hat dreaded moment when you have to put your child on the big yellow school bus? They are so full of excitement and you are so full of worry.

“You expect me to put my child in a vehicle with NO SEAT BELTS!!!!??? No thank you!”

This may or may not calm your nerves, but grab a pen and take notes, class is in session.

School Bus Safety for the Kids:
• Walk your kids to the bus stop.
• Wait until the bus has stopped, the driver sees you and the door opens before stepping onto the roadway. This goes for loading and unloading.
• Wait for a signal from the bus driver before beginning to cross.
• Stay away from the bus’ rear wheels at all times.
• Always stop at the curb or the edge of the road and look left, then right, and then left again before crossing the street.
• No horseplay. Go straight to your seat and sit facing forward.
• Teach your kids to tattle: if they see their bus driver talking on a cell phone, they should tell you and you should report the driver!

Louisiana Laws for Drivers:
• When a bus stops to load or unload children on a 2, 3 or 4-lane highway that does not have a center divider, all vehicles in both directions MUST STOP.
• When a bus stops to load or unload children on a 4-lane divided highway that has a median, only vehicles following the bus MUST STOP.
***The only time YOU DO NOT HAVE TO STOP is if there is a grassy or raised median and you are on the opposite side of the road as the bus. Double lines=STOP! Turning lanes=STOP! Single/dotted line=STOP!
Worried that buses don’t have seatbelts?
• Buses are bigger and less likely to get into a crash. Travels at lower speeds. Drivers are naturally more careful around buses.
• Buses are bright and have flashing lights, stop signs/arms and reinforced sides.
• Well-trained drivers.
• Children walk up steps to get on the bus. If your typical vehicle hits a bus, it is hitting underneath the children (not directly in line with your child’s body). Trains, 18-wheelers, other large vehicles and roll-overs are game changers.
• Compartmentalization: Think of eggs in an egg carton. Bus seating is designed to keep kids in a smaller area. They’re spaced tightly and covered with 4-inch-thick foam to form a protective bubble. In a crash the child is likely to go against the seat, and that will absorb most of the impact. It’s a safety design so they won’t be projected through the air.

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