School Bus Safety

Sponsored by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield

School bus safety is a high priority in New York. Students, parents, teachers, administrators, transportation personnel and the motoring public all play important roles in keeping our children safe while on or around the school bus.

Tips for Parents/Students

  • Get to the school bus stop five minutes early, so you won’t have to run across the road to catch the bus.
  • When waiting for the bus, stay away from traffic. Line up at least five giant steps away from the curb or the roadway to wait for the bus.
  • Never run after the school bus if it has already left the bus stop.
  • Never push when getting on or off of the school bus.
  • Always walk at least 10 feet in front of the bus when crossing so that the school bus driver can see you.
  • Be aware – Cross with Care! Wait until the school bus has stopped all traffic before stepping out onto the road.
  • When the school bus is moving, always stay in your seat. Never put your head, arms or hands out of the window.
  • Talk quietly; do not distract your school bus driver.
  • If your school bus crosses railroad tracks, be calm and quiet so that your driver can listen for a train. Always obey your school bus driver’s instructions, so that he or she can make safe decisions.
  • Never play with the emergency exits. Backpacks, band instruments, or sports equipment may not block the aisle or emergency exits. If there is an emergency, listen to the driver and follow instructions.
  • When getting off of the school bus, make sure that all drawstrings and other loose objects are secure so that they don’t get caught on the handrail or the door.
  • Never cross the street behind the school bus.
  • If you leave something on the bus or drop something outside of the bus, never go back for it. The driver may not see you and begin moving the bus.
  • Never speak to strangers at the bus stop and never get into the car with a stranger.

Tips for School Bus Drivers

  • Always do a pre-trip inspection prior to every run to check for mechanical defects that could jeopardize safety.
  • Be reliable and dependable – Your students count on you every day!
  • Establish a positive relationship with your students. You are the first authority figure they encounter, and you set the tone for the day.
  • Check to make sure all of the children unloading from the bus are at a place of safety before deactivating your 8–way light system and moving the school bus.
  • Do not allow children to exit the bus before all traffic has come to a complete stop and the safety equipment has been engaged.
  • After unloading all children at the school or after your last stop, make sure to do a post-trip of your bus and check to make sure that no child has been left on the bus.
  • Be prepared to act appropriately in emergency and crash situations. Your actions could mean the difference between life and death.
  • Be sure to provide adequate instruction so that every student is familiar with school bus emergency procedures and equipment use, as well as the safe loading and unloading procedures.
  • If you see or hear an emergency vehicle, you should be aware that although the emergency vehicle is required to come to a complete stop when it encounters a school bus loading or unloading students, it is legal for it to proceed with caution even if the bus’s 8-way light system is still activated, as long as it doesn’t risk the safety of the students.

Tips for the Public

  • Please watch carefully for children near school buildings, in areas where school buses are traveling or where there are signs for school zones or bus stops.
  • Remember that if you are approaching a school bus from either the front or behind, and it's yellow lights are flashing, the bus is preparing to stop.
  • If the buses red lights are flashing, YOU MUST STOP.  It's the law!
  • This includes school buses that are:
    • on the opposite sides of divided highways,
    • on multiple lane roadways,
    • in parking lots,
    • on school grounds.
  • The only exception to this law is if the bus driver or a police officer signals that you may pass the bus.
  • Even on divided, multilane highways or school grounds, drivers must stop for flashing red lights.
  • Penalties for illegally passing a school bus range from $250 - $1,000 fines; points on your license; and/or possible imprisonment.

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