Keeping Your Kids Safe This Back to School Season
Every parent wants to ensure that their child gets to and from school in the safest way possible. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), children are about 70 times more likely to have a safer school commute in a bus than other vehicles. There are many reasons why this is the case, including the way it's designed.
During this back to school season, both parents and their children can be doing their part to improve school bus safety. Here are three things to remember.
1. School Buses are Designed for Safety
For over 80 years, education and transportation professionals have been meeting to discuss ways to improve the design and functionality of school buses to make them safer for all children. This National Congress on School Transportation (NCST) has imposed such safety specifications like:
- The color — yellow was chosen because it can be seen in most conditions.
- An alarm sounding when the bus is backing up.
- Installing at least one handrail.
- Seat backs at a minimum of two feet tall.
You can view all of the most updated safety requirements here.
2. All Drivers Should Obey School Zone Signs
The Missouri Department of Transportation outlines its regulations for signage in school zones per the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). These regulations dictate what is required for public schools in the state. Here are a few general rules:
- School zone speed limits must be 10 mph less than the posted speed limits but not less than 25 mph overall.
- These reduced speed limits are posted within 200 feet of the school grounds and immediately begin at the sign.
- Pedestrian crossing signs outside of the designated school zone are optional but should still be abided by if present.
- Signs alerting of school bus stops ahead must be placed at a minimum distance of 300 feet and a maximum of 740 feet, depending on the posted speed limit in the area.
- Additional fines may be imposed for those found guilty of speeding in a school zone.
To maintain the safety of the school zone, it is crucial for all parents, babysitters, or whoever is picking up/dropping off a child to be mindful of the posted signs and comply accordingly. Additionally, it's important to remember that although texting and driving is legal in Missouri for drivers over 21, it is much safer to remain alert while in a school zone and avoid using a handheld device.
3. What Children Can Do to Improve School Bus Safety
From the moment your children leave the house to go to the bus stop to when the bus is in motion to when they are exiting to go inside the school building, there are many things they can do to improve safety. This may include:
- Avoid running to the bus stop, instead leave the house early enough to get there with time to spare.
- Avoid talking to adults you don't know on your way to and from the bus stop.
- Wait until the bus is at a complete stop and the doors are open to step off the sidewalk.
- Use the handrails to get on and off the bus.
- Remain seated until the bus driver says you may exit.
- Before exiting the bus, look both ways for other cars that may be in the roadway.
- Always cross in front of the bus, never behind.
These simple tips can be useful for students of any age and are effective in keeping them safe at any time of year.
You Want to Keep Your Kids Safe — We Can Help
As parents first and attorneys second, our Kolker Law Firm partners understand the importance of keeping your child safe during this back to school season. If you or a loved one becomes injured in a collision, we can help.
Call (314) 684-8285 or fill out this short form to get in touch with a member of our team.