5 school bus safety tips for truckers

Post Date - Aug 19, 2022

It’s back-to-school season! While it might be years since you sat in a primary or secondary school classroom, you still need to prepare for kids heading back to school. According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), approximately 500,000 buses travel more than 260 million miles across the country every single day. As truck drivers, it is so important that we remain vigilant about safety on the road to protect the more than 25 million children riding in these buses each day. This is the perfect time of year to brush up on your school bus safety knowledge.

#1 Know the laws

Each state has their own laws around school buses, so we recommend checking ahead to see what the laws are in each state along your route. These laws are in place to protect children and will let you know how and when you’re able to navigate around buses. Some of the standard rules include:

--Do not pass a school bus with its lights flashing and stop arm extended. This means that children are either boarding or exiting the school bus.

--Do not pass a bus on the right, because this is where students are entering and exiting the school bus.

--Expect school buses to come to a complete stop before all railroad crossings.

All 50 states have a law that prohibits passing a stopped school bus on an undivided road. It’s recommended that you leave at least a 10-foot safety zone around the bus at a minimum for children.

#2 Be aware of increased traffic

Plan ahead by giving yourself extra time during the school day, especially in the mornings and afternoon. Not only will there be increased cars on the road as parents drive their children to school, but buses will make frequent stops to pick up kids. If you’ve already budgeted in extra time, you won’t feel rushed navigating school traffic.

#3 Watch for school zones

With school back in session, school zone rules and speed limits are back, too. Make sure you’re slowing down in school zones to the adjusted speed limit, following the directions given by crossing guards, paying attention to crosswalks and school zone signs, and simply staying aware of the additional pedestrians and bus traffic.

#4 Don’t drive distracted

This is an important tip at all times when driving, but it’s worth mentioning again. Limit your distractions so you’re able to pay attention to what you’re doing and what - or who - is around you. Not only are there little ones around and lots of school buses, but there’s a high likelihood that there will be distracted parents rushing to get their kids to school. Get ready to drive defensively by eliminating any distractions. Set down the cellphone, don’t eat while driving and resist the urge to change radio stations while driving.

#5 Use the highway when possible

During high traffic times such as rush hour, some drivers may find it faster to use backroads and local streets instead. While this may save you a little bit of time, during the school year a lot of these roads will fill up with school-related traffic. Buses will often make frequent stops on rural roads picking up children from their homes. If you’re not familiar with the area, there’s a chance you’ll be surprised by a stopped school bus on a backroad. Keep this risk to a minimum by sticking to highways and interstates whenever you can. If you must take rural roads, do so with extra caution. It’s important to stay aware and anticipate that you might come across a stopped school bus.

This is also a great opportunity to remind yourself to watch your speed. The faster you drive, the less time you have to react in an emergency. No load is worth someone’s life.

Safety is the most important thing to us at Montgomery Transport. It is the foundation of everything we do. If you’re looking to partner with a company like ours, give us a call today!