For 24 million students nationwide, the school day begins and ends with a trip on a school bus. The National Safety Council indicates there are approximately 325,000 school buses operating on any given school day, with each traveling an average of 12,000 miles per school year.
What tragedy could be worse for a parent than to lose a young child in a school bus accident? What tragedy could be worse for a trucking professional than to be involved in such an accident? There are steps than can be taken by professional drivers to minimize the potential for these types of losses.
1. Recognize And Obey The Rules Of The Road – When approaching a school bus, be extra cautious. Look for the possibility of warning signals to activate and be prepared to stop. Remember that in most every state, and in most circumstances, it is unlawful to pass a stopped school bus that is either loading or unloading students. Additionally, most buses are required to stop at railroad crossings, so be prepared. Always maintain a “cushion of safety” to avoid rear-ending a school bus.
2. Obey School Zone Speed Limits – If you must travel through a school zone to complete your delivery, obey the restricted speed limits, and always yield to school buses, clearly giving them the right-of-way.
3. Be Prepared For The Unexpected – When following a bus that is making frequent stops, don’t take a chance making an unsafe pass. Remember that school buses often pick up children during early morning hours, when fog and darkness may cause reduced visibility.
As professional drivers, we must use common sense, be courteous, and stay within the law. Think “CAUTION” anytime you observe a school bus.
At times, the trucking industry will take the position that some accidents are inevitable. Yet, when the cargo is as valuable as that carried by our school buses, nothing less than a total safety effort is acceptable.
Let’s give our children a safe and happy school year!