CINCINNATI — Frigid winds, snow and ice trigger important winter weather safety reminders to motorists, students and parents. First Student, Inc., North America’s largest provider of school bus transportation, urges motorists who share the road with school buses to use extra precaution and allow plenty of room to stop when approaching or following a school bus as they make frequent stops loading and unloading students. Laws in all states require motorists to stop when the school bus stop arm is extended and red lights are flashing.
First Student school bus drivers participate in a comprehensive training program which includes preparation for driving in inclement weather and adverse conditions like the recent wintery weather. Each First Student bus undergoes a monthly maintenance review and yearly examination to ensure it is functioning at optimal safety and service standards. Drivers also conduct a pre-trip bus inspection every day before they begin their routes. First Student buses are designed to provide maximum safety every day, even in extreme weather conditions.
In fact, school buses are the safest way to get to and from school; nearly 10 times safer than walking to school and as much as 13 times safer than traveling in a passenger vehicle, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
First Student provides these additional winter weather school bus safety tips for students:
- Students who walk to or wait at school bus stops should dress appropriately for cold, icy weather. Proper outerwear includes warm coats, gloves, hats and waterproof footwear. Passengers should not wear clothes with toggles or dangling key chains as they can get caught in the bus doors or on the handrail.
- Stay alert! The old adage of “stop, look and listen” is so important for school children. Hoodies, headphones and portable electronic devices can distract students from paying attention to surrounding traffic.
- Students should never run after the bus. Plan ahead and allow sufficient time to get to the bus stop.
- Passengers should wait for the bus to stop completely before approaching the bus to get on or before standing up to get off. Always use caution when stepping on or off the bus and at crosswalks.
- Parents and students should check with their school, school district or emergency closing alert system for any schedule delays or cancellations. Information can generally be found on school websites, and many districts use a phone alert system to announce changes to school or bus schedules. School delays or closings may occur when officials determine that weather conditions are too severe to ensure safe travel to and from school.