National School Bus Safety Week

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This week is National School Bus Safety Week. In the United States, about 23,500,000 children ride school buses to school, and then return home on school buses. That's about 55 percent of the K-12 population. When you multiply the daily ridership times the number of school days school buses provide the United States with an estimated 10 billion student rides annually.

The latest numbers from 2006 show school bus-related accidents send 17,000 children to emergency rooms each year, more than double the number in previous estimates that only included crashes. Nearly one-fourth of the accidents occur when children are boarding or leaving school buses, while crashes account for 42 percent.

In an average year, about 25 school children are killed in school bus accidents. One third of these are struck by their own school bus in the loading/unloading zone, one third are struck by motorists who fail to stop for the school bus, and one third are killed as pedestrians approaching or departing the school bus stop. Very few are killed inside the bus. The most common fatality involving a school bus is to a motorist who hits the bus. There are about 120 Americans killed annually in this type of fatality.

It’s important that we as motorists do our part for school bus safety. Upon meeting a school bus with its lights flashing, stop at least 10 feet from the front or rear of the bus. Wait for the flashing lights to turn off and make sure the children are safely across. Give school buses a little extra room on the road and be especially courteous as they are carrying some of the most precious cargo we have . . . our children.

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