The Bus Stops Here

A recent study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) collected data on school transportation related incidents from 2006 through 2015. During this period, there were 1,313 fatalities of school-aged kids on their way to or from school, an average of 131 per year. Most frequent of the 1,313 deaths are: 

  • 54 were occupants of school transportation
  • 137 were occupants of other vehicles
  • 301 were school age pedestrians
  • 102 were pedestrians
  • 8 were cyclists

The NHTSA study found that most of the children who lost their lives in bus-related incidents were 4 to 7 years old, and were walking. The primary causes of these deaths were: the child was hit by the bus, or by a motorist illegally passing a stopped bus. 

Taking few precautions go a long way toward keeping children safe:

  • Slow down near bus stops and watch out for pedestrians.
  • When approaching a school bus that is slowing down or stopping, give it plenty of room and come to a complete stop.
  • A two-lane road, or divided roadway with no median all drivers on both sides must stop.
  • Don't block the crosswalk when stopped at a red light or waiting to make a turn, forcing pedestrians to go around you; this could put them in the path of moving traffic.
  • When approaching school zones when flashers are blinking, stop and yield to pedestrians crossing the crosswalk or intersection.
  • Always stop for a school patrol officer or crossing guard holding up a stop sign.
  • Don't honk or rev your engine to scare a pedestrian, even if you have the right of way.
  • Look out for children in school zones, near playgrounds, parks, and in all residential areas.
  • Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians.

Among the 301 school-age fatalities between 2006 and 2015, more school-age pedestrians were killed from 6:00am-9:00am, and from 3:00pm to 4:00pm. (72%) than any other hours of the day, corresponding with starting and ending of the typical school day. When it comes to injuries of school age pedestrians a common cause is misunderstanding or out right violation of the law. 

Frequent school age pedestrians injuries and fatalities are the result of: 

  • Failure to stop for a school bus loading or unloading
  • Double parked in loading or unloading school zones
  •  Speeding through school zones 

When approaching a school bus be aware of the potential of stopping and loading of passengers. The diagram below shows the blind spots (in red), and potential pedestrian striking zones. It pays to remember that exiting students can be distracted by cell phones, conversations and multitasking and children can be very unpredictable once off the bus.


For more details, please see this edition of Wachs Weekly!