Careful Bus Stop Selection Can Improve Student Safety

By Edward F. Dragan

The police were on the scene before dawn on a cold January morning in New York, responding to a frantic call from a motorist who said two bodies were in the northbound lane of the four-lane highway. To get to their bus stop, two girls had had to cross a highway with no crosswalk or pedestrian signal and had been struck by a car.

In Michigan, a first-grader darted between two cars that were parked illegally to cross the street in front of the school. To his mother’s horror, he was struck and killed by an SUV. The principal knew the illegal parking created an unsafe condition and had contacted the police to ticket drivers waiting for their children after school.

Injuries to students and tragedies such as these are becoming more common. According to the Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey, school bus service accounts for approximately 25 percent of trips and 28 percent of student-miles traveled during normal school travel hours. Passenger vehicles represent 60 percent of trips and 66 percent of student miles traveled.

Numerous elements make up the total picture of student transportation. Any one factor, when modified, can change another in terms of student safety. How and where you assign bus stops are factors that, with careful scrutiny, can reduce accidents.

What causes these accidents?

According to the Pupil Transportation Safety Institute, bus stop safety is a growing concern in many school districts. This increasing concern may be attributed to several factors, including the following:

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