As the sounds of the summertime fun that filled our days with time in the pool, travel, and other leisure activities fade, a new school year begins. While several students continue to opt for remote or hybrid learning models, the smooth and less congested morning commutes we all enjoy during the summer months will quickly dissipate over the coming weeks.
Public School Transportation
The National Center for Educational Statistics’ most recent survey projects that just over 50 million students attend public schools. Of those numbers, we can expect more than 26 million children to take a bus or utilize some form of transportation to get to and from school. Locally in North Carolina, we will see almost 800,000 students ride a school bus daily. Hence this reminder to remain extra alert as the increased school traffic normalizes into our daily travel.
Bus drivers are required to participate in highly specialized training prior to starting their job and are provided with additional layers of learning opportunities throughout the year, all to ensure the children are safely transported to and from school. The Transportation Research Board, part of the National Academy of Sciences, notes that a child is 13 times safer getting to the destination when traveling in a school bus than other modes of travel.
As our comfort level and appetite for technology continues to grow and outpace the roadway laws (at the very least, the enforcement of these laws) aimed to prevent distracted driving, we all need an extra reminder to put the phones and other related technology distractions down during any driving activities. Reasons such as flashing red lights, the large bright yellow body, and stop sign-arms that make up a bus are only good at creating awareness if we see them and aren’t distracted while behind the wheel.
Review Safety Tips With Children
Many of the incidents and accidents that occur on our roadways are preventable, so education and awareness continue to be our best ally. Drivers should plan ahead and know that more time will be needed to get to your destination due to changing traffic patterns. However, it is not only the drivers who can prevent incidents. It is important to review safety areas with your kids as they get back into a school routine including:
- Stand back at least six feet from the curb when waiting for the bus
- Make sure the bus comes to a complete stop before approaching to enter
- Make eye contact with drivers before crossing streets and intersections
- For those that ride a bike, come to a complete stop, and look both ways for distracted drivers
- Always ensure that your child is wearing appropriate safety gear such as helmets when on a bike
- Never assume that a red light will stop a vehicle, as there is a chance that the driver is distracted
Traffic patterns will certainly change over the coming weeks, so be sure that you do your part to take the necessary steps to be prepared for the influx of exposures. Simple measures and areas of mitigating risk while on the roadways can help ensure all our kids get to and from school safely!
Please reach out to the risk professionals at Sentinel to learn how to further Safeguard Your Success.