A look at school bus safety

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School districts around the nation are celebrating School Bus Safety Week. School buses are actually one of the safety forms of transportation -- 13 times safer than cars.

Some of the highlights school districts are focusing on this week include the following:

· Stay 12 giant steps away from the outside of the bus.
· Wait for the bus to stop completely before getting on or off.
· Don’t pick up any items they may have dropped near the bus. The driver may not see you. Instead, ask the driver for help.
· Wait until the driver signals it’s okay to cross the street in front of the bus.
· Stay away from the bus wheels at all times – especially the back wheels where it’s hard for the driver to see.

What does First Student do to keep kids safe?

· We operate our buses under stringent safety protocols:
· Preventive maintenance inspections are conducted by certified mechanics to ensure buses are running at peak performance.
· Vehicle safety checks are performed before each route.
· Our drivers go through an extensive training program before ever driving one of our buses.
· This training includes such topics as student behavioral management and bus safety.

 What safety features do the buses include?

· Crossing gates to ensure children cross in front of the bus at a safe distance.
· Child Check-Mate – an electronic reminder system that ensures no child is left on the bus. The system becomes activated the moment a child boards the bus, and cannot be deactivated until the driver walks to the rear of the bus and depresses the "Stop and Check" reset button upon completion of each run.
· GPS – allows staff to pinpoint the exact location and speed of each bus at any time. GPS also allows staff to track fuel mileage to ensure buses are operating at maximum efficiency.
· A vehicle inspection component which immediately identifies any maintenance issues that need addressing during the driver's daily safety inspections and ensures buses are operating at maximum safety and efficiency levels.

What do the different lights mean on a school bus?
· School buses have amber/yellow and red flashing lights.
· The amber flashing lights indicate that the bus is preparing to stop to pick up or drop of students. When these lights are on, motorists should slow down and take caution.
· The red flashing lights and stop arm are activated when the bus is stopped to pick up or drop off children.

How can motorists be safe are school buses?
· Motorists should be cautious around school buses as children are more than likely nearby.
· Drivers should eliminate distractions while driving The few seconds it takes to talk on a cell phone, text or change songs can cause a motorist to not see a bus’ important safety features like stop arms and warning lights.

What are rules for driving near a bus when the stop arm is activated?

· Motorists should always heed the school bus stop arm.
· All drivers following the bus or coming from the opposite direction must stop at least ten feet away from the bus until the stop arm is deactivated and the bus begins to move.
· Drivers traveling in the opposite direction of the bus on a road with four or more lanes may continue with caution.

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