Parents & Teachers


Teach Your Kids These Important School Bus Safety Lessons!

Montlick & Associates

School Bus Safety

Montlick & Associates' Family Safety Advocate Jacquie Palisi shares essential safety tips for parents as children travel to and from school. Watch this week's video, and download important School Bus Safety materials for both parents and children.

School Bus Safety

Every year, approximately 440,000 public school buses travel more than 4 billion miles and daily transport 24 million children to and from schools and school-related activities. School buses account for an estimated 10 billion student trips each year. By all measures, school buses are the safest motor vehicles on the highways. School buses are required to meet more Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards than any other type of motor vehicle.

Getting on or off the bus is more dangerous than the ride itself. Many injuries occur when children walk into the driver's "blind spot," an area 10 feet around the bus. Most bus-related pedestrian deaths occur in the afternoon. More than 40 percent occur between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. when children are going home.

The main entrance area of schools is one of the most dangerous transportation zones.

  • From 1989 to 1999, an average of 10 passengers were killed each year in school bus crashes.
  • Most of the school bus fatalities were in non-survivable situations (the fatality occurred at the point of maximum damage to the school bus).
  • From 1989 to 1999, an average of 30 pedestrians were killed each year while getting on or off school buses, 23 of which were children struck by the school bus. The other 7 pedestrians were struck by another vehicle.
  • More than half of the pedestrian fatalities in school bus-related crashes were children between 5 and 7 years old.
  • Most student pedestrian fatalities in school bus-related crashes occur when coming home from school during daylight hours.
Safety Tips

Make sure children get to the bus stop at least five minutes early. Teach children to ask the bus driver for help if they drop something near the bus (if a child stoops to pick up something outside the bus, the driver cannot see the child). Teach them to take "five giant steps" out from the front of the bus before crossing the street.

Work with local police to enforce and publicize school bus laws for motorists. Most states require motorists in both directions to stop when a school bus displays flashing red warning lights and extends the stop signal arm. Vehicles may not legally pass until the flashing lights are turned off and the stop arm is retracted.

Work with school officials to create a safe school drop-off area. Arrange for crossing guards or help organize student safety patrols. Make crosswalks more visible by adding broad striped lines.

If the school drop-off zone has heavy traffic or a high speed limit, work with local officials to reduce speed limits and post flashing warning signs. Ask the police to hold high-profile enforcement actions in school zones and to alert the public about the laws and the dangers of driving too fast near schools.

School Violence

Fewer than 1% of all homicides among school-age children occur on or around school grounds or on the way to and from school.

  • Nearly two-thirds of school-associated violent deaths were students; about one-tenth were teachers or other staff; and nearly one-quarter were community members killed on school property.
  • Eight out of 10 school homicide or suicide victims were males.
  • 28% of the school-related deaths occurred inside the school building; 36% occurred outdoors on school property; and 35% occurred off campus.

Among students surveyed in a 1999 CDC study:

  • 14% of high school students had been in a physical fight on school property at least once in the preceding year.
  • 8% had been threatened or injured with a weapon on school property during the preceding 12 months.
  • 7% carried a weapon on school property during the preceding 30 days.
  • 5% had missed one or more days of school during the preceding 30 days because they felt too unsafe to go to school.

Safety Links On This Topic

Sources: The safety tips in this section were compiled from the following great internet resources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (