If you send a child off to school each day, you probably have concerns for various reasons, especially if they ride a school bus. But did you know a school bus is one of the safest vehicles on the road?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), less than 1% of all traffic fatalities involve kids in school vehicles. Despite that statistic, the agency says more kids are at risk when approaching or leaving a school bus.
For this reason, the NHTSA and the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) work together to keep the more than 25 million children safe who ride school buses daily.
During National School Bus Safety Week, which takes place the third week every October, the NHTSA and NAPT have the following reminders for motorists:
Always Stop for School Buses
Because kids wait several feet away from where buses stop and often cross roadways when boarding or getting off the vehicle, you must stop when you see a school bus stop.
Do Not Pass School Buses
Not only must you stop for school buses, but you should also not attempt to pass them. And it is illegal in every state to pass a school bus when the vehicle has its “stop-arm” extended and its red lights flashing. While there are differences in laws from state to state, you could face various motor vehicle fines and a suspended license.
For instance, in Massachusetts, failing to stop for a school bus or illegally passing a stopped one with flashing lights can potentially result in a $250 fine. A second offense could result in a $500 fine, and subsequent violations could result in a suspended license. These are all things that will make your car insurance premiums increase.
Understand School Bus Lights and Signals
It’s also essential to ensure you understand the flashing lights that school bus drivers use to alert you. For instance, yellow flashing lights indicate that a school bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children, which means you should slow down and prepare to stop.
Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate the bus has stopped and children are getting on or off the vehicle. In this case, you must stop your car and wait until the bus begins moving before you can start driving again.
If you’re a driver in Massachusetts, MAPFRE Insurance offers MotionSmartSM to reinforce safe driving. MotionSmart collects and analyzes driving data and displays an overall driving score assessed by combining hard braking, hard acceleration, hard cornering, speeding, and phone use. You can potentially lower your premiums through safe driving!
Children who ride the bus also need to take precautions when walking to and from the bus stop and when riding to school. The NHTSA and NAPT recommends:
- Reminding children walking to and from school to pay attention to their surroundings
- To walk young children to the bus stop or have children walk in groups
- To have children wear bright or contrasting colors
- To have children look both ways before crossing the road and to always use crosswalks
- To remind children to not walk while texting or talking on the phone
- Having children wait for the bus on the sidewalk and not in the road
Once on the bus, children should ensure they are not distracting the driver and follow their school district’s policies and procedures. If they are using an electronic device, they should make sure the sound is muted or that they are using headphones.
Hopefully, you found these school safety tips helpful! Not a MAPFRE customer yet? Get a fast, free car insurance quote today to see how much you could save on your car insurance in Massachusetts or contact a local independent agent in your state!