Did you know that fifty five percent of US children ride buses to school? That’s almost ten billion rides annually given to an estimated twenty three and a half million students. With all that precious cargo to transport, it’s no surprise school buses are some of the most stringently regulated vehicles on the road. Statistically speaking, your child is safer in a school bus than just about any other kind of vehicle you can imagine. School bus designers and operators already take steps to ensure their passengers’ safety, but there’s always room for improvement. Parents can teach their children best practices. Furthermore they can their own driving habits in order to keep our children as safe as possible. Today’s blog post will be a guide to DMV school bus safety for kids, parents, and drivers.
Any child planning to make their commute to school on a bus should understand and follow traffic safety rules. This is especially vital given the raised profile of a school bus can lead to decreased visibility for the driver. The bus’s large size and weight also increases the likelihood of any collision with a pedestrian being catastrophic. Children should be sure to give themselves sufficient distance (generally about ten feet) to make eye contact with the driver before crossing in front of a school bus. If your child drops something under or near the bus, they should not attempt to retrieve it without notifying the driver, ensuring that the bus will stay stopped. Parents should take steps to familiarize their children with the location of the bus stop and plan to have their children there at least five minutes in advance of the bus’s scheduled arrival time.
Drivers should be aware that passing a school bus while it’s stopped to offload or pick up passengers is illegal. It doesn’t matter which way you’re travelling. But there are more steps drivers can take to protect themselves and their neighbors that aren’t enshrined in law. Drivers should exercise an increased degree of caution and awareness around any school bus stop. Even if the bus isn’t present or nearby. Children waiting for the bus may forget their surroundings and step off the curb into the street. Children running late for the bus may also run across the street without properly checking for oncoming traffic. In addition, drivers should keep an eye out for children walking or riding bicycles to school, especially in areas with no sidewalks.
Drivers can also protect themselves and their neighbors by familiarizing themselves with their state’s laws concerning school buses. Both Maryland and Virginia require drivers to come to a complete stop while a school bus is showing flashing red lights and an extended stop sign and remain stopped until all persons are clear and the bus has begun to move again. In addition, Maryland law requires drivers to yield to pedestrians at a crosswalk, regardless of age. Motorists should also make note of a school bus displaying flashing yellow lights, signaling imminent stop.
The beginning of the school year can be a time fraught with worry for parents. Whether you’re sending your child to school for the first time or not. The numbers on school bus safety are extremely positive and show an encouraging dedication to protecting our children. But even the safest systems can still experience failure. If you or a loved one has been injured in a school bus accident due to the negligence of a bus driver, school district, or bus manufacturer, you may be entitled to compensation. Malloy Law Offices, LLC is home to the DMV’s personal injury specialists. Our experienced and diverse team of attorneys will review your case free of charge. Contact us today for your free consultation.