In recent weeks, the number of school busses seen on the roads around Rhode Island has increased due to classes reopening. The busses come in all shapes and sizes, large and small. In general, they are three to four times longer than the average car, twice as tall, painted bright yellow and have flashing lights. It’s difficult to imagine that anyone couldn’t see one. But accidents do happen.
According to statistics, a child is more likely to be hit by a school bus rather than be injured from an accident while riding on the bus. Providing safety belts on buses is an ongoing debate. Some states have passed laws mandating safety belts on school busses, but RI has not. It is important to note that all school busses need to meet federal safety requirements for seats, windows and other elements that add to the overall safety of the vehicle. A key safety concept in full-sized school buses is called “compartmentalization.” The thickly padded bench seats are spaced close together and have high backs, creating a compartment that protects passengers in a collision.
Experts say that school busses remain the safest option for a child to go to and from school but there are ways that the safety can be improved. Adults can teach children these basic safety rules:
In addition to teaching children bus stop safety, adults can make the biggest difference in children’s safety by practicing safe driving habits. Following are a few laws to keep in mind the next time you approach a school bus on the road:
The safety of our children is a shared responsibility. Practicing safe driving is one way to help ensure that our communities’ school busses remain the safest option to transport students to and from home.
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