School buses are the safest way for children to travel to and from school, according to the Hawai`i Police Department. Despite their overall safety, there are dangers when children are boarding and leaving the bus.
Over the last decade, nearly two-thirds of school-age pedestrians fatally injured in school transportation-related crashes were struck by school buses or other vehicles when getting on or off a school bus.
HPD suggests that children learn ways to play it “SAFE”:
- Stay five steps away from the curb.
- Always wait for the bus driver to tell you when to board.
- Face forward after finding a seat on the bus.
- Exit the bus when it stops, look left-right-left, and take five steps away from the bus toward the curb.
Drivers also play an important role in transportation safety. HPD offers the following tips:
- When backing out of a driveway or leaving a garage, watch out for children walking or bicycling to school.
- When driving in neighborhoods with school zones, watch out for young people who may be thinking about getting to school, but may not be thinking of getting there safely.
- Slow down. Watch for children walking in the street, especially if there are no sidewalks in the neighborhood.
- Watch for children playing and congregating near bus stops.
- Be alert. Children arriving late for the bus may dart into the street without looking for traffic.
- Learn and obey the school bus laws in your State, as well as the “flashing signal light system” that school bus drivers use to alert motorists of pending actions:
- Yellow flashing lights indicate the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children. Motorists should slow down and prepare to stop their vehicles.
- Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate the bus has stopped and children are getting on or off. Motorists must stop their cars and wait until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop-arm is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving before they can start driving again.