School Bus Safety
School Bus Safety Tips Outside the Bus
- Don't talk to strangers
- Wait for the Driver's signal before crossing the street
- Get to the bus stop 5 minutes before the scheduled stop time
- Cross in front of the bus, never behind
- The danger zone is 10 feet in front and behind of the bus.
- Be alert
- Wait for the bus door to open before you move towards it.
School Bus Safety Tips Inside the Bus
- Stay seated and face forward
- Be respectful to the driver - listen to the driver.
- Keep the aisles/floor clear at all times
- Go directly to a seat
- Never play with the emergency exits
- Never throw things on the bus or out the windows
- Speak Quietly
- Hold the handrail when going up and down the stairs
- If there is an emergency, listen to the driver and follow instructions.
- Always be silent when a bus comes to a railroad crossing
Is there a legal age for my child to travel to school alone?Oregon has no minimum age requirement for children travelling to school on their own. Your child's school or school district may have policies or guidelines along with recommendations for walking and biking routes to the school or bus stop.
If there's no legal age, how can I know when my child is ready to travel to school alone?Being "old enough" is different from being ready. Think about your unique child - can your child:
- Pay attention?
- Remember and follow rules?
- Make good decisions?
- Feel comfortable on their own?
Some kids may be ready at a younger age or later than their peers. As parents, you know your child best, so use your parental judgement.
What can I do to prepare my child to walk or bike to school safely?Your child will need to recognize, remember and obey traffic signs, signals and pavement markings. Practice with your child by walking or biking together. Repeated practice helps kids get better at it and you feel more comfortable with their skills. Identify a safe route to and from school or the bus stop. The school may already have route maps with recommendations. If not, here are some considerations.
- Look for less busy roads and slower speeds.
- If there are no sidewalks, choose roads with shoulders where walkers can face oncoming traffic.
- Find the locations of your school's crossing guards.
- Choose crossing locations that have a clear view of traffic.
- Practice the route with your child until you are both comfortable.
Can my younger child be accompanied by another older child?
Use your parental judgement to decide if the older child is mature and experienced enough to be a safe travel companion. Consider if your child can accept direction and is comfortable in the company of the older child. Walking or biking in groups is a great way to teach kids getting to and from school on their own.
What about walking to and from the school bus stop?Follow the same criteria as you would for determining your child's readiness to safely get to school alone. Use your parental judgement to determine what's best for your child. For younger children:
- Check with your school for their protocol and guidelines
- Establish and appropriate routine for pick-up and drop-off.
- Make sure your child knows and can repeat your full name, address and telephone number.
Walk and Ride Safely. The Way to Go. Transportation Safety - ODOT
- The National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. Department of Transportation and other authorities agree that school buses are the safest form of transportation for getting children to and from school.
- According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, a child is 8 times safer in a school bus than when riding in a parent's vehicle.
- Some 475,000 school buses carry 25 million children (more than half of America's school children) each day, rarely with any serious accident.
The Federal Government mandates school bus construction features designed to protect the children we transport each day. These features are designed to both reduce the likelihood of a collision and protect passengers should a collision occur.
- The color and size of school buses make them easily visible and identifiable.
- The height of school buses provides improved driver visibility and raises the passenger compartment above car impact height.
- School bus construction includes reinforced sides designed to protect passengers from side impact collisions.
- School bus lights provide distinctive warning to alert other motorists to the presence of a school bus stop.
- School buses are carefully designed using what is called "passive restraint", meaning all a child must do to be protected is sit down in a seat.
One of the greatest safety features of the school bus is the drivers. School bus drivers are highly trained professionals who have your child's safety in mind.
Drivers receive specialized training in:
- Defensive Driving
- Student behavior management
- Emergency procedures
- First aid instruction
Drivers participate in:
- Pre-employment and randon drug/alcohol testing.
- Driving record checks.
- Background checks
- Regular medical examinations to maintain their Commercial Driver's License
The school bus industry operates by a set of safety, security, health and driver qualifications that met, and in some cases exceed federal and sate laws. School bus drivers help ensure that school buses are the safest mode of transportation for our nation's schoolchildren.