With the school year in full swing, school buses are now a regular presence on the road. Transporting kids to and from school safely is the main responsibility of a bus driver. But occasionally, there are some factors that can get in the way of drivers doing their jobs. According to a study by United Educators (UE), bus accidents make up to 16 percent of the total public school claims.
Moreover, due to the massive size and weight of school busses, they normally cause more damage externally than internally. In the 10 years leading to 2019, almost 70% of the deaths in school bus-related accidents were occupants of other vehicles that the school bus crashes with, about 6% were passengers of the school bus and 5% were school bus drivers.
But what are the major factors that distract school bus drivers and keep their attention away from the road? Here, we’re focusing on the top 3 distractions according to our research of school bus accident data going back almost a decade.
Kids, both elementary and high school level, can get a little rowdy at times. Yelling, fights and loud chatter can be very distracting for the driver. Besides having a strict behavior policy, schools should provide bus aides who can focus on the children while the driver focuses on the road. This strategy would result in a smooth and safe ride for everyone involved.
While it is illegal to text or talk on the phone in many states, school bus operators can also become distracted by their cell phones. To prevent this, cell phones should be stashed away while operating the vehicle. Also, GPS technology or controlling the radio can also become distracting. Switching to a voice-controlled GPS or setting the radio station before embarking on their trip can prevent accidents from happening while on the road.
Drinking and Eating
In order to pick up passengers in time for school, bus drivers start their shifts very early in the morning. Since most will not have time for breakfast, they may bring their food and coffee to snack on during the ride. Simple movements like spilling a liquid or switching a cup of coffee between hands can take the focus off of the road and onto what is happening on the bus. Bus drivers should save breakfast or snacks for when they’re stationed in a parking lot, not with a bus full of passengers.
Driving a bus is a huge responsibility. As one of the larger vehicles on the road, it’s important to pay extra attention as an accident involving a vehicle of this size can cause a massive amount of damage. Be sure to communicate your concerns to the bus driver and school officials to ensure the safety of your child and prevent a distracted driving accident.