BUS SAFETY GUIDELINES
Are School Buses Safe?
- The school bus is the safest way to travel to and from school. Buses travel billions of miles annually and transport millions of students every day. They accomplish this with the highest safety record and lowest fatality rate of mass transit. Statistics support that school bus transportation is the safest way to go to school.
- Youth fatalities during school hour travel are 57% for youth drivers, 23% for adult drivers, 19% for other travel and less than 1% for the School Bus.
- Students are about 70 times more likely to get to school safely if they ride in the school bus instead of a car.
- With 24 million students transported over 4 billion miles each year, school buses have only 0.2 deaths per 100 million miles traveled.
- Most large school buses do not have seat belts for students. Each seating area acts as a protective bubble for students. The seats use thick padding with high seat backs and fronts. The seat frames are constructed to absorb the energy of impact and are securely fastened to the floor. Accident studies have shown that compartmentalization works well when children stay within the seat compartment.
School Bus Inspections
- Our drivers are required by law to inspect the bus prior to every route to assure the vehicle safety and function. This includes morning, afternoon, and all field trips.
- Our school buses are inspected by the Nevada Highway Patrol twice a year.
School Bus Driver Credentials
- All school bus drivers are required to submit fingerprints for an FBI background check upon being hired, and then every 5 years thereafter per Senate Bill (SB) 287.
- A 10 year DMV driving record is requested for review before being hired and then once a year thereafter.
- Successful candidates then begin a minimum 80 hour training course that includes time in the classroom and behind the wheel of the school bus. The is twice the Nevada State requirement of 40 hours training.
- Drivers train on defensive driving, rules of the road and all state and federal regulations.
- After passing written tests and drive test. they then obtain a Class B CDL through the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles with a School Bus and passenger Endorsement through the State of Nevada.
- Drivers are required to be in compliance by maintaining a clean driving record, participate in a random drug testing pool, and complete a minium of 10 hours of training annually. Drivers are also required to pass a yearly written exam per the Nevada Department of Education.
Federal Regulations require that we conduct Bus Evacuation Drills twice a year. These are done in the fall and the spring.
WAITING FOR THE BUS
- Walk to the bus stop with a parent or in groups of two or more students.
- Never run to or from the bus.
- Be at the bus stop 5 minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive.
- Wait at your designated stop in a safe place, back from the side of the road.
- Stay out of the street and away from traffic.
- Respect property in the neighborhood.
- Be kind and courteous to others.
- Form one line as the bus approaches.
- Remember never to stand in the danger zone that surrounds the bus. The danger zone is ten (10) feet on all sides of the bus. If you are close enough to touch the bus you are definitely too close.
- If you need to cross the street to get on the bus, always wait until the bus has come to a complete stop. Look for the stop arm to come out and for the flashing red lights on the bus.
- Watch the driver. When the driver is assured that all traffic has stopped he/she will signal for you to cross the street.
- Look both ways and continue to watch for traffic yourself while crossing the street.
- Always walk straight across the street, never at an angle.
- Cross the street in single file.
STUDENT SAFETY / ENTERING THE BUS
- Hold the handrail as you get on the bus.
- Do not push or shove.
- Know your attendance number when it is assigned to you and be ready to provide it to the driver every time you enter the bus.
- If you have assigned seats, go directly to your seat.
- If you don't have assigned seats, find a seat as quickly as possible.
- If your bus has seatbelts, Buckle Up!
- Remove your backpack, put it in your lap, and face forward in the seat with you back against the seat in an upright position.
STUDENT SAFETY / EXITING THE BUS
- Remain in the seat until the bus comes to a complete stop.
- Do not unbuckle your seat belt until the bus comes to a complete stop.
- As you exit the bus, the people at the front leave first.
- Walk, don't run down the steps.
- When you leave the bus, hold the handrail and take two large steps away from the bus.
- Do not push or shove while on the bus or exiting the bus.
- When you have exited the bus do not stand or walk in the danger zone.
- The danger zone is anywhere close enough for you to touch the bus.
CROSSING THE ROAD
- Cross the street only when the driver has indicated the way is safe. Walk 10 feet (10 giant steps) in front of the bus so the driver an see you.
- Never cross behind the bus.
- Cross the street in single file.
- Keep looking to the right and left as you walk.
- At an intersection, look in all directions.
- Do not cross the street at an angle.
- Walk briskly across the road, but do not run.
- Listen! If your driver blows the horn, go back to the curb or sidewalk out of the danger zone.
Safety Smarts - Know the Danger Zone
- The 10 giant steps rule is a good measurement for children to identify the danger zone around the school bus, particularly when crossing in front of the bus.
- Students should never enter the danger zone unless the driver has given them permission.
- If a student can touch the bus, he or she is too close.
- Never cross in the back of any school bus.
- Remember - if the student cannot see the bus driver, the bus driver cannot see the student.
- When near a bus, the student must have the attention of the bus driver.
- Students should never play around or near school bus vehicles.
- If you drop something under or near a bus or any vehicle, tell the driver. NEVER stop and try to pick it up yourself.
Please familiarize your students with the Bus safety diagram below!
ROAD SAFETY WHEN BUSES ARE LOADING AND UNLOADING STUDENTS
FLASHING RED LIGHTS
N.R.S. 484.357 states: the driver of any vehicle upon a highway, street or road, when meeting or overtaking, from either direction, any school bus, equipped with signs and signals required by law, which has stopped on the highway, street or road to receive or discharge any pupil and is displaying a flashing red light signal visible from the front and rear, shall bring his vehicle to an immediate stop and shall not attempt to overtake or proceed past the school bus until the flashing red signal ceases operation.
The driver of a vehicle upon a divided highway need not stop upon meeting or passing a school bus that is positioned in the other roadway. The driver of a vehicle need not stop upon meeting or passing a school bus where traffic is controlled by a traffic officer. "Divided highway" means a highway divided into two or more roadways by means of a physical barrier (i.e., wall, curb, island) or dividing section, constructed so as to impede the conflict of vehicular traffic traveling in opposite directions. Many four lane roadways are not a divided highway. Motorists who travel the four-lane portion of a highway or road that is not divided must stop for the school bus when it is stopped and has its red lights flashing while traveling in either direction.
Any person who violates any of the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and: (a) for a third or any subsequent offense within 2 years after the most recent offense, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $1,000 and his driver’s license must be suspended for not more than 1 year. (b) For a second offense within 1 year after the first offense, shall be punished by a fine of not less than $250 nor more than $500 and his driver’s license must be suspended for 6 months. (c) For a first offense or any subsequent offense for which a punishment is not provided for in paragraph (a) or (b), shall be punished by a fine of not less than $250 nor more than $500.
A REMINDER: please be extra cautious in a school zone (speed limit 15 MPH) and around a school where the bus stops are located. If the flashing red lights are operating and stop arms are extended, you are required to stop!
Motorists who pass school buses which are stopped to load or unload students have become a major safety concern across the nation and Washoe County is no exception. The 1997 Nevada Legislature passed legislation directing the Nevada School Districts to provide information on the law governing the passing of a school bus and safety at school zones as well as student safety around a school bus.
The driver of a school bus who observes a violation of NRS 484.357 is empowered by state law to prepare a report of the violation.
A survey was done on May 1 of 2018 by all bus drivers in the Washoe County School District of vehicles that passed a bus with the stop arm out and the red lights flashing. The survey numbers totaled 227 vehicles that ran Washoe County School District buses red lights on this one day alone.
This is the total statewide of an annual one day survey of vehicles that passed a School Bus in Nevada with the stop arm out and the red lights flashing from 2011 to 2018.
# of Drivers Reporting
Total # of Violations