Summer is over…back to school!

It’s that time of year again: kids have gone back to school and buses are back on the road. Every September we stress the need to drive carefully, especially with all the distractions we have today. Most people don’t know that buses are the safest mode of transportation for our children to get to and from school 1. In fact, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the greatest risk for the child is approaching or leaving the bus, not riding on it. 2. That means we, the motorists, are the greatest risk to our children. Remember to look for those bus stops.

When I am at a social event and people find out I am retired law enforcement, the request for stories always begins or, worse yet, I am told stories about the time “I got a ticket.” One story we need to tell is how we have drivers passing school buses and endangering our kids. Every year, millions of children ride school buses, and one of the top safety concerns is when drivers illegally pass school buses when the red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended. The National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services annual survey revealed that almost 76,000 vehicles passed a school bus illegally in one day. These sample results point to more than 13 million violations by private motorists during a school year, and only 29 states participated in the survey. 3. This is not a small problem, with 13 million violations.

What’s even worse, vehicles are passing school buses on the right hand side, where the door is. It was always hard for me to understand what is a person thinking in these types of situations. In the same survey mentioned above, it was found that 1,512 vehicles passed on the right hand side of the bus last year.4 In June of this year, the StarTribune in Minnesota reported a semi-truck driver passed a school bus on the right hand side while a young lady was waiting for the bus and the truck kept going. To see what happens out on the road, check out this link to the bus video at the time of the event. It’s overwhelming.

At Zonar, we are proud of our relationship with Pupil Transportation. Providing tools and solutions to improve the safety of school buses and ensure safe transportation of our children are missions of our company. It really is about the safety of our children.

We can provide those solutions, but we need change the actions and mindset of the motoring public. Do you know when it’s ok to pass a bus? Check out this link to see your state’s law. To help keep children safe around school buses, NHTSA has put together the document “Tips to increase your child’s school bus safety.” Spread the word and let’s stop the madness!