Approximately 55% of students between kindergarten and 12th grade ride the bus to and from school. That means the 480,000 school buses across America transport over 25 million kids five days a week during the school year. Almost 55 kids can be transported per bus, saving the time and energy of 36 separate cars that would otherwise be needed to drive their own kids per single trip. That saves over 62 billion average car miles annually and almost $11 billion in annual car fuel costs just getting the kids to and from school. However, like any other mode of transportation school bus accidents do occur and unfortunately, kids can get hurt in the process. The number of annual crashes is extremely low, usually averaging within the lower double digits each year. Of course, one bus crash is one too many. Here are some simple bus safety tips to help everyone remain safe while sharing the road.
Know and Adhere to the School Bus Laws in Michigan
Legal requirements for safely following or passing a school bus are set in place for obvious reasons. Regardless of how late you may be or how annoyed you feel behind the bus, you must know and adhere to those laws. For example, a motorist must come to a full stop at least 20-feet behind a stopped school bus. Passing a stopped bus in Michigan, however, comes with a steep fine between $100 and $500 outside of court costs and puts the kids at risk.
Be Alert on the Road, Especially At or Around Schools
Most kids know to look both ways and wait for passing vehicles before crossing the road. But goofing off with friends, excitement over being done for the day (or beginning a new day), and peer pressure can make even the most responsible kid make the wrong choice. Before they know it, they’ve darted into the road right in front of an oncoming car. And since busses can easily hide the little ones, you might not know they’re there until it’s too late. So slow down, be alert, and expect the unexpected, especially around schools.
Be Vigilant When Driving Through Neighborhoods
Buses have specific routes and children often lurk and dart out of nowhere regardless if a bus is present at the time. Regardless of the time of day, be alert and aware of your surroundings while driving through neighborhoods. Avoid distractions such as cell phones, primping, or dealing with radio controls. Limit the conversation inside the vehicle and have any passengers on high alert for pedestrians as well. Reduce your speed and pay special attention to playing kids and those waiting for a bus or getting off of one.
Always Look Before Backing Up or Out
Whether leaving your home or place of business, always be sure to watch while backing up or out of a driveway or parking spot. Kids may be walking or riding their bikes to school or the bus stop. Or a bus may be passing right at the moment or slowing to board or release passengers. The ten-foot space around a school bus is the most dangerous area for children. And since children are unpredictable by nature, they tend to take risks anyway. Being extra careful and attentive can help prevent school bus accidents on your part and a potential call to a Michigan personal injury attorney.