For Immediate Release: October 17, 2022
JACKSON, Miss. – In support of National School Bus Safety Week, Oct. 17-21, 2022, the Mississippi Department of Education is sharing information from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to remind drivers about the importance of school bus safety.
In every state, it is illegal to pass a school bus while the school bus stop-arm is extended, and the red lights are flashing. Although the school bus is one of the safest modes of transportation, illegal school bus passing is a deadly risk to bus riders and their caretakers. Drivers should always come to a complete stop when a school bus stop-arm is extended, and the red lights are flashing.
Statistically, school buses are the safest way to transport school children. Yet more injuries and fatalities occur outside of or near a school bus because a motorist has failed to obey the stop-arm warning or to follow local traffic laws. From 2011 and 2020, there were 1.6 times more fatalities among pedestrians (183) than occupants of school buses (113) in school-bus-related crashes. A total of 218 school-age children (18 and younger) died in school-bus-related crashes during that period, either as occupants of school buses or other vehicles, or on foot or bike. Of the 218 deaths, 85 were children who were walking.
The school bus loading and unloading area is called the “Danger Zone.” Specifically, this is any side of the bus where a child may not be seen by the bus driver and, therefore, is in the most danger. These areas include:
- 10 feet in front of the bus, where the driver may be sitting too high to see a child
- 10 feet on either side of the bus, where a child may be in the driver’s blind spots
- Behind the school bus
Everyone should work together to keep children safe as they wait to ride the bus to and from school. Slow down and obey the signs. For more information about school bus stop safety, please visit www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/school-bus-safety#the-topic-bus-stop-safety.
Find all MDE news releases at mdek12.org/news.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Photo