School Bus Safety is Everyone’s Responsibility | Schools
Rural/Metro offers tips to parents, kids and drivers to ensure a safe return to school
Buffalo, NY (August 30, 2012) – As summer draws to a close and thousands of students across Western New York head back to school, parents can help their children make the return smoothly and safely.
Buffalo-based Rural/Metro Medical Services and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) offer parents these six school bus safety tips to share with their kids:
Walk, Don’t Run
Just as there’s no running in the hallways at school, no running to the bus stop either. Leave 5-10 minutes early so you’re not rushed and use sidewalks whenever possible. Otherwise walk on the left, facing traffic.
Safety at the Stop
Don’t run and play at the bus stop and always wait in a safe place away from the road. When the bus arrives, watch for the flashing red lights and stop sign to be extended. Cross only when traffic has stopped and look both ways: left, right and then left again.
It can’t be said enough: NEVER speak or get into the car with a stranger. ALWAYS go tell a parent or trusted adult right away if a stranger tries to talk to you or pick you up.
Being a Polite Passenger
Think of the school bus as a classroom on four wheels. Remind children to take their seats and keep aisles clear, talk quietly, never throw things (on the bus or out the window) or play with emergency exits and if they need something to raise their hand and call the driver’s name.
Five Big Steps
Remember to take five big steps from the door when exiting or the bumper when crossing in front of the bus so you can see the driver and the driver can see you.
Back Home, Safe and Sound
Kids should only exit at their designated bus stop unless a parent’s note instructs otherwise. Always tell the driver before returning for an item or picking something up outside the bus. Finally, go straight home and check-in so mom and dad know you made it safe and sound.
“As a parent, ‘back to school’ time can be hectic,” says Rural/Metro Director of Public Affairs, Brian Lawson. “That’s why we put together this list of quick, simple and important reminders as a resource to make sure everyone gets to and from school safely this year.”
During the school year Rural/Metro responds to about three school bus incidents per week in Erie and Niagara counties and more than 100 total bus incidents across Western New York. Most could be considered minor accidents. School busses are on the road at the same time many are making their morning and evening commutes which means, especially this time of year, drivers need to remember to:
Slow down in school zones and where children are making their way to or waiting at the bus stop.
Be alert - when backing out of the driveway or driving in neighborhoods - for young people who may be thinking more about school and less about traffic.
Obey the flashing lights of the school bus. Just as you would slow for a yellow light and stop on red at an intersection, the same applies for the flashing yellows and reds of a school bus. When the school bus’ red lights are flashing all traffic must stop at least 20 feet away.
According to the NHTSA school-transportation is eight times safer than riding in a car with parents or guardians. However, most school bus-related deaths and injuries occur while children are crossing the street. The fine for passing a stopped school bus in New York ranges from $250 to $1,000 depending upon the number of violations.
To support safety measures, Rural/Metro also works with the Buffalo Public Schools and the Erie County Department of Emergency Services, which provides parents and students with SMART (Specialized Medical Assistance Response Team). SMART is a volunteer public health emergency response organization, comprised of a rapid response team of doctors licensed to treat injuries at the site of an accident, ensuring the best treatment as soon as possible.
About Rural/Metro:Rural/Metro Medical Services is the premier provider of health and safety solutions in Western New York, providing services to more than two dozen municipalities in Erie and Niagara counties. Rural/Metro uses an in-house education department to train their over 450 EMT’s and Paramedics and proudly offers their services to community based organizations looking to provide life-saving techniques to their friends and families.