Bus safety: Students, parents, drivers have part
School district urges all to abide by rules during Bus Safety Week
Students are 20 times more likely to arrive to school alive when they travel by bus than when a parent drives them in a car, according to the American School Bus Council.
This week is National School Bus Safety Week, but Jason Sherman, director of transportation and facilities for Delaware schools, said safety is his goal every week.
"We focus on safety every week," he said. "We're not just talking about it this week, but we're talking about it the other 51 weeks of the year as well."
Sherman said students are given instructions on bus safety every year and instructed how to enter and exit a bus, how to ride on the bus and other key information to keep them and the bus driver safe.
He said many of the problems come from other motorists who drive distracted and don't pay attention to what Sherman called the "danger zone."
"The danger zone is within 10 feet on all sides of the school bus," he said. "Drivers need to pay attention to the students and make sure they can see the students getting on and off the bus."
Students are instructed to stay in a designated area and wait for the bus to proceed to them and put on its flashing lights before they board.
They also are taught not to run back and pick up objects they may have dropped near the bus, Sherman said.
Students are aware that some cars will not stop even when the bus has stopped with flashing lights, he said. Because of this, they are taught to look for cars before crossing to the front or rear of the bus.
"When you see a bus with flashing lights, you have to stop," Sherman said. "If you are going the opposite direction of the bus, you are required to stop if the road is less than four lanes."
Sherman said parents should know there is adult supervision at the bus stops in the morning and afternoon.
"If potential predators know parents are out with the kids, they will avoid these areas," he said.
Sherman said bus drivers undergo safety training and certification, and for students who follow the rules and do as they're instructed, there isn't a safer place to be on the roads than on a bus.
"Our bus drivers are among the best-trained on the road, and when they're doing it correctly, I have no doubt that it is 20 times safer to be on one of our buses than being a passenger in a car on the road," he said.
Sherman said bus safety is important not for just children, parents and bus drivers, but for everyone.
"We need to pay attention," he said. "We know we can't just teach this once, but need to teach it all the time. We have to incorporate these changes into our daily lives. It's everyone's responsibility."