School Bus Safety

When it comes to school safety, we tend to focus on the time that children spend inside the building. While this is a significant amount of time each day, it’s also important to consider how they get to and from school. Approximately 25 million students nationwide ride the school bus (National Safety Council), and school buses are by far the safest form of student transportation (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). Setting ground rules for riders will help keep it that way.

In order to increase bus safety and limit driver distraction, have the students review school bus rules regularly and before field trips. Whether you’re revising your current guidelines, or are starting from scratch, here’s a list of essentials to build from:

  1. Stay seated until the bus comes to a complete stop.
  2. Wait for the bus driver to extend the stop-arm signal and flash red lights before crossing in front of the bus.
  3. Don’t consume food or drink (including gum and hard candy) on the bus due to possible choking risks.
  4. Face forward.
  5. Keep chatter and volume low.
  6. Participate regularly in evacuation drills.
  7. All body parts are to be kept inside the bus.
  8. Keep the aisles clear.
  9. Listen to the bus driver. 
  10. Use the handrail for entering and exiting.
  11. Keep a safe distance from the bus wheels when entering and exiting.

(Reminder: Each bus company should have their own hiring standards and regulations. Ensure that your school aligns with the company’s policies as well as your state’s regulations.)

If your school uses other forms of transportation, review any additional risks involved with each method. You may be required by law to have guardians fill out liability waivers or permission slips before use — consult your legal team for each specific instance. To help with additional transportation questions, we’ve provided a list of transportation resources for you.

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© 2018 The GuideOne Center for Risk Management, LLC. All rights reserved.This material is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to give specific legal or risk management advice, nor are any suggested checklists or action plans intended to include or address all possible risk management exposures or solutions. You are encouraged to retain your own expert consultants and legal advisors in order to develop a risk management plan specific to your own activities.