As if the list of reasons to be truant or skip on any given school day morning is not long enough, records indicate that bus-stop and school bus related crashes and injuries amount to an average of 20 deaths each year. Despite pouring tens of thousands of funded dollars into programs aimed at the safe transport of students, transportation experts say there is no perfect bus stop. The reasons go way beyond school bus stop locations, which are not lightly decided upon. There are also the routes the busses take, weather conditions, adequacy of lighting, sufficient space for students to wait, the existence of nearby crossroads, and even students' apparel.
As such, many entities are involved in the decisions made surrounding school bus stops. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), state Highway Safety Associations, transportation planners, school district and local government officials, local police departments, parents, and bus drivers all place the issue at the top of the priority list. But the issue involves human behavior at a time of day when most are hurried, tired, anxious, and easily distracted. Add school-aged children into the mix and the potential for an accident increases substantially.
There are sensible guidelines in every district's plan for safe bus stops, and seemingly tough enough consequences for drivers who would disregard the laws of vehicular navigation as it relates to school busses and bus stops. But every year, heart wrenching tragedy resurfaces with news stories of young children whose lives are abruptly halted or forever changed due to an accident on their way to or from school.
We reported earlier on the blog the death of a young Erie County student who was hit by a distracted driver while waiting for her bus. That same crash also injured another student. Parents in Erie have been calling for changes to the location of that particular bus stop.