In acknowledgement of the recent National School Bus Safety Week, the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) would like to thank the bus drivers across the State for safely transporting New Jersey students – and remind drivers to be cautious around school buses, bus stops, and school zones throughout the entire school year.
National School Bus Safety Week is held the third full week of every October. Approximately 700,000 New Jersey students are transported to and from school by bus on a typical school day, traversing some 480,000 miles on nearly 42,000 bus routes.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says students are 70 times more likely to arrive at school safely when taking a school bus instead of traveling by car. School buses are the most regulated vehicles on the road. The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (NJMVC) inspects every school bus twice a year, and at least once a year NJMVC reviews all school bus driver records onsite.
As the school year began, the NJDOE partnered with the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety (NJDHTS) and other state and federal agencies to use their social media platforms to encourage safe driving around schools, buses, and bus stops. Below are some tips that can serve as important reminders for drivers and parents:
- The greatest risk to a child is not riding a school bus, but approaching or exiting one, according to NHTSA. Prepare to stop when school bus drivers flash the bus lights, as there are likely students waiting to get on or off the bus.
- Even when school bus lights aren’t flashing, be alert – especially during the morning routes or mid-afternoon dismissal time.
- Obey speed limit signs and crossing guards in school zones.
- Have your child’s backpack ready and arrive at the bus stop early; it can be dangerous for a child to run after a school bus.
- Walk your child to the bus stop, or encourage children to walk in groups, as groups are easier for drivers to see.
- Parents should teach their children to stay five steps from the curb, wait until the bus comes to a complete stop, face forward after finding a seat on the bus, and look both ways for cars when exiting the bus.
- When meeting your child at the bus stop after school, wait on the side of the street where the child will be dropped off. Children can often get excited to see a parent and dash across the street without following the safety rules.