Riding the school bus is a great way to get children to and from school. It’s a lot safer than other methods of transportation and provides access to school for about 26 million students each year. However, there are still risk factors associated with riding the bus that parents, children and motorists need to be aware of.
Despite the fact that there are stop arm laws in all 50 states, it’s estimated that over 10 million drivers illegally pass school buses every year. This poses a serious risk to children who may not be aware of approaching traffic obscured by the big yellow bus. It’s not clear why so many drivers violate stop arm laws when children’s lives are at stake, but it remains a daily threat to children. There simply is no “safe” way to illegally pass the school bus. If the bus is stopping, children are present.
To keep children safer, motorists need to follow the laws in their state. It’s illegal to pass a school bus within the roadway as it drops off or picks up passengers—regardless of the direction of approach. When sharing the road with a school bus, motorists should drive at a slower pace and keep a safe distance. This is the only way to be prepared to stop when those flashing red and yellow lights go on. States have different requirements on how close a vehicle can come to a school bus as it stops to pick up passengers, but that distance may be as much as 25 feet.
Under no circumstance should a motorist ever be within 10 feet of a school bus.
Everyone can improve the safety of children by letting others know that putting children’s lives at risk is not OK. Take a pledge to brake for the school bus. Report aggressive drivers and spread the word about keeping children safe through the resources available at schoolbusfacts.com.
Brake for the School Bus Logo
Download this Brake for the School Bus PDF file to create window decals, signs and other media that reminds everyone to always Brake for the School Bus as it stops for passengers.