In the United States, 23 million children ride a school bus to and from school every day. Nearly 126,000 of them are in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School district (CMS). CMS has 1,020 school buses that travel a total of 105,000 miles every day with approximately 24,000 daily stops.

Although the U.S Department of Transportation confirms that riding a school bus is the safest way for children to get to and from school, safer even than walking or riding in their parent’s car, 12 students are killed every year in school bus-related accidents. Eight of those fatalities occur when children are getting on or off the bus. Another four are killed in school bus accidents with other vehicles.

Although the fatality rate is low, if your child is one of the 12 who are killed or one of the thousands of school bus-riding students who are injured annually, the statistics will not matter to you. You will need to contact one of our Charlotte, NC personal injury attorneys at Campbell & Associates. We have more than 20 years of experience litigating school bus accidents.

The best step is, of course, to prevent accidents. There are some safety tips you must discuss with your children to assure their school bus ride is as safe as it can possibly be.

Getting On and Off the busschool bus safety

Eight of the annual fatalities occur when children are getting on or off the bus. Specific tips are:

  • Do not rough-house while waiting for the bus. It is far too easy to suddenly be pushed into the street where an unsuspecting driver hits the child.
  • Line up to get on the bus as far away from the street as possible.
  • Use the handrail when getting on and off the bus.
  • If you need to cross the street in front of the bus after you get off, do not depend on the flashing red lights at the rear of the bus to stop cars. Walk at least 10 feet ahead of the bus and look at the bus driver. Do not cross until the driver signals you that it is safe.
  • After you get the signal from the driver, still look both ways before stepping into the street.

Behavior On the Bus

If the bus has seat belts, children should fasten them. It is important not to distract the driver. A driver’s focus needs to be on the road, not on disciplining children. This means:

  • Children should keep their hands, arms and head inside the bus at all times.
  • They should stay sitting down and not leave their seat until the bus has come to a complete stop.
  • Speak quietly. Do not yell or make loud noises.