Bus Safety Tips for Parents

  • Students are about 70 times more likely to get to school safely if they take the school bus instead of a car, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That makes a school bus the safest form of transportation for getting a child to and from school.

    The process of approaching or leaving the school bus and the bus stop comes with greater risk, though. Parents and drivers are reminded of the following tips to keep children safe before and after their ride to school.

    1. Stay out of the danger zone.
      The danger zone is a space that extends out 15 feet all around the school bus, where a driver may not be able to see pedestrians. Practice caution and keep cars, siblings not riding the bus, and pets out of the danger zone at all times.
    2. Park a safe distance from the bus stop.
      Parents who drive a vehicle to their child's bus stop should follow state laws regarding parking or standing in a vehicle. According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, parking or standing is not allowed:
      • In front of a driveway.
      • Within 20' of a crosswalk at an intersection.
      • Within 30' of a traffic light, stop sign or yield sign.
      • Along a curb that has been cut, lowered or made for access to the sidewalk.
    3. Arrive at the bus stop five minutes early.
      Students should be waiting at the bus stop five minutes ahead of their scheduled pick up times. They should also dress appropriately for the weather and wear bright colors, which improve visibility for drivers.
    4. Allow bus drivers to tell students when to cross the road. 
      Whenever possible, the Transportation Department tries to arrange drop off and pick up locations so students don’t have to cross the road. However, if a student does have to cross a road to get from the bus stop onto the school bus, please follow these crossing procedures:
      • Boarding the bus before school starts:
        • The student must stand at least 15' from the road and wait for the bus to come to a complete stop.
        • Once the driver has determined that it is safe for the student to cross, the driver will signal the student.
        • Upon receiving the driver's signal, the student should walk - not run - to the bus.
      • Leaving the bus after the school day ends:
        • Students should exit the bus using the handrail.
        • Before students leave the last step, they should look right, left and right again to make sure there are no vehicles passing the bus on the right.
        • If crossing is necessary, students are to walk at least 10' in front of the bus and wait for the driver to signal. Students are instructed to make eye contact with the driver. The driver will again check for traffic and signal the students to cross.
        • Once students are at the bus headlights or edge of the bus, they are instructed to look left, right and left again before crossing. If it is clear, they are to continue to walk across the road.
        • If students hear the bus horn blow, they are to return to the side of the road that they came from.
      • Parents should not instruct students when it is safe to cross. The bus driver will do so.
    5. Keep students' personal belongings in a backpack or book bag.
      Students should carry all their belongings in a backpack or book bag to avoid the possibility of dropping articles that might end up under the bus. Tote bags, book bags, jackets and hoods should be free of any dangling articles, long straps, drawstrings and key chains that may get tangled in the bus doors. Such items also may hit other students in the face as students maneuver through the bus to their seats.
    6. Make classroom behavior the expectation for the school bus.
      Encourage students to see the school bus as an extension of the classroom. They should follow the same guidelines for behavior on the way to and from school as they do while at school. Students should remain seated at all times until the bus comes to a complete stop and the driver releases them to disembark.
Close up of a crosswalk