What Every Parent Should Know About School Bus Safety
Parents are more diligent than ever when it comes to the welfare of their children. As one of the most informed generations in history, today’s moms and dads make more well-researched decisions than ever before. So when it comes to keeping children safe, they’re usually the best advocates for garnering support. That’s why theis counting on parents to help spread the word about school bus safety.
Most of us are familiar with the safety statistics surrounding air travel compared to other forms of transportation. But the comparative safety of the school bus is not as well known. The fact is, the school bus is the safest method of transportation for getting kids to and from school, bar none. How much safer? Well, about 70 times safer than traveling by car*- even if a parent is the one doing the driving. Once you factor in the cost, convenience and carbon footprint benefits of the school bus, it’s hard to find a reason to send children to school any other way.
Why are school buses so much safer than other methods of transportation?
Since 1966, the Federal Government has been involved with mandating regulations to help the school bus protect its precious cargo. Minimum safety standards of school transportation vehicles far exceed those of passenger vehicles. The result is a design that is better able to avoid crash and injury than the family car.
But it’s not just the design of the school bus that makes it a safer option than driving kids to school. Stop arm laws modify the behavior of other drivers who share the road with the school bus. This significantly reduces risk to students as the school bus drops off and picks up its passengers. And school bus drivers are well trained in safety procedures, undergo driving and background record checks, and participate in pre-employment and random drug and alcohol testing.
“School buses are not just a safe, environmentally friendly and convenient way to get to school, but a vital instrument in keeping our children in the classroom and improving our education system.” -Todd Monteferrario, President of the National School Transportation Association.
Since the school bus has been such an important part of our educational system for generations, communities can take it for granted. Yet when it comes to crunching budgets, districts often look to the school bus as an opportunity for making cuts. In the battle between books and buses, books usually win. But those cuts can come at a much higher price than just dollars and cents. It’s up to the community - especially parents - to support the school bus and keep ridership strong in their district.
Since demand supports the justification for funding, parents can show support by sending their children to school on the safest ride in town. Families at risk of losing school bus service should let their locally elected officials know how important access to school bus transportation is. If the entire community gets involved with protecting school bus ridership, it can go a long way in securing its future.
Over 26 million students depend on the school bus to get to and from school each day. More parents than ever are taking a stand on behalf of their children by putting them on the school bus—a choice that keeps kids safer and benefits the entire community. It’s time the school bus receives the recognition it deserves in providing children with safe and reliable access to school.
Want to learn more about how you can support school bus ridership in your community? Visitfor more information.
* National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, FARS 2005 to 2013 (Final), 2014 ARF.
American School Bus Council website, 2021
How the School Bus Benefits the Entire Community
Since the first all-steel school bus was built in 1930, school buses have been improving the lives of families all over the country. Today they transport 26 million students to and from school each day, saving families about 62 billion miles of driving each year. That’s a significant time and convenience benefit in the lives of busy parents. And the millions of gallons of gas it saves means more room in family budgets. But if you think that families of school-age children are the only ones who benefit from school bus ridership, you might want to think again.
Educators, environmentalists and communities can also appreciate the many contributions of the school bus.
The morning commute can put a strain on the daily grind, but imagine how much worse it would be if an additional 17 million cars joined rush hour traffic. That’s what commuters could be facing without the school bus. One school bus carries the equivalent number of passengers as about 36 cars. So cutting service could result in more gridlock and longer commutes. In fact, the school bus transports more than half of the 50 million students who attend school. Like other forms of public transportation, the school bus provides benefits to the entire community—not just those who ride.
All those additional cars on the road would mean more emissions and higher concentrations of pollution in the air. Without the school bus, lungs would be breathing an additional 56.5 billion pounds of CO2 annually. That’s more CO2 than a 747 would emit during a century-long flight. And those environmental benefits have only gotten better each year as student populations grow and school buses become even cleaner due to strict Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards.
“Every school bus can take up to 36 cars off the road. This limits the pollution, reduces traffic and allows for a better use of our collective resources. The school bus is an amazing tool for communities all across the country.” -Max Christensen, Immediate Past President, National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services.
There are important safety benefits too. Students are about 70 times more likely to arrive to school safely if they take the school bus instead of traveling by car. With teen drivers crashing at higher rates than adults, the school bus provides a much safer alternative. Its passengers can socialize, text and simply be children without the deadly risks involved with distracted driving—risks that affect everyone on the road.
Every community deserves the school bus. They save hundreds of lives each year, provide millions of jobs nationwide and are an important part of the education system.
Want to learn more about how you can support school bus ridership in your community? Visitfor resources on ways to keep the community benefits of the school bus going strong.
American School Bus Council website, 2021