Parents are more diligent than ever when it comes to the welfare of their children. As one of the most informed generations in history, today’s moms and dads make more well-researched decisions than ever before. So when it comes to keeping children safe, they’re usually the best advocates for garnering support. That’s why the American School Bus Council is counting on parents to help spread the word about school bus safety.
Most of us are familiar with the safety statistics surrounding air travel compared to other forms of transportation. But the comparative safety of the school bus is not as well known. The fact is, the school bus is the safest method of transportation for getting kids to and from school, bar none. How much safer? Well, about 70 times safer than traveling by car*—even if a parent is the one doing the driving. Once you factor in the cost, convenience, and carbon footprint benefits of the school bus, it’s hard to find a reason to send children to school any other way.
Why are school buses so much safer than other methods of transportation?
Since 1966, the Federal Government has been involved with mandating regulations to help the school bus protect its precious cargo. Minimum safety standards of school transportation vehicles far exceed those of passenger vehicles. The result is a design that is better able to avoid crashes and injury than the family car.
But it’s not just the design of the school bus that makes it a safer option than driving kids to school. Stop arm laws modify the behavior of other drivers who share the road with the school bus. This significantly reduces the risk to students as the school bus drops off and picks up its passengers. And school bus drivers are well trained in safety procedures, undergo driving and background record checks, and participate in pre-employment and random drug and alcohol testing.
Since the school bus has been such an important part of our educational system for generations, communities can take it for granted. When it comes to crunching budgets, districts often look to the school bus as an opportunity for making cuts. In the battle between books and buses, books usually win. But those cuts can come at a much higher price than just dollars and cents. It’s up to the community—especially parents—to support the school bus and keep ridership strong in their district.
Since demand supports the justification for funding, parents can show support by sending their children to school on the safest ride in town. Families at risk of losing school bus service should let their locally elected officials know how important access to school bus transportation is. If the entire community gets involved with protecting school bus ridership, it can go a long way in securing its future.
Over 26 million students depend on the school bus to get to and from school each day. More parents than ever are taking a stand on behalf of their children by putting them on the school bus—a choice that keeps kids safer and benefits the entire community. It’s time the school bus receives the recognition it deserves in providing children with safe and reliable access to school.
Want to learn more about how you can support school bus ridership in your community? Visit schoolbusfacts.com for more information.
* Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, FARS 2005 to 2013 (Final), 2014 ARF.