Everyday in Alberta, there are over 5000 buses transporting students to and from school, travelling more than 400 000 km a day, approximately 10 times around the world. For the most part, there are very few serious injuries as it relates to collisions, near collisions, and incidents on the bus. In fact, one study found that a child was 16 times more likely to be injured while riding in a private motor vehicle than on a bus in order to get to school (Alberta Government, 2007). Despite the safety records of bus transportation and drivers training, in order to keep our buses as safe as possible for your children, we ask that you take some time to review with your son(s) and daughter(s) the importance of bus safety. Below are key areas that relate to a safe, comfortable, and enjoyable ride to and from school.
When preparing students to ride the bus, please keep the following in mind:
- Ensure that students are properly clothed for the weather. They may have to wait outside for a few minutes, as well as walk to the bus stop.
- To refrain from wearing any strong scents like perfume and cologne. Because of the enclosed nature of the bus, the potential exists for serious allergic reactions for some students.
Students are most at risk when loading and unloading from the bus. While outside the bus, students do not have the protection of the vehicle they will be riding. It is very important for students to use caution when waiting for and leaving the bus stop area. When loading, it is crucial that students adhere to the following:
- Wait for the bus until it has come to a complete stop at a distance (Minimum one meter). A student could trip and fall in the path of the bus or the bus can slide in icy conditions.
- Do not rush, crowd and push to get on the bus. There is plenty of time.
- If your child needs to cross a highway, typically they will be asked to cross in front of the bus. The busses have traffic signals to stop traffic for safe crossings. Despite these signals, students need to watch for the directions of the bus driver and use caution when crossing the road as some vehicles may not stop. They need to ensure that they are following the instructions or the driver at all times.
When students are unloading to go home, it is important that students follow the following guidelines.
- Students must remain seated until the bus has come to a full stop.
- When exiting the bus, students must do so in a calm and orderly fashion and remember not to push.
- Students must be in a safe location before the bus leaves. The driver will instruct students where to be.
- Students are not to hang around their bus stop. They are to go straight home or to the location in which you have discussed. This will alleviate concerns surrounding there whereabouts of your son(s) and/or daughter(s) after school.
When driving the bus, the driver must maximize the opportunity he/she is focusing on the road as opposed to being distracted by student behaviour. If the driver has his or her attention focused on student behaviours for one, two, or three seconds, the bus can potentially to veer into other vehicles or off the road. A bus does not need to be in a collision to have students become injured.
A bus having to make more aggressive driving maneuvers through swerving or heavy breaking to avoid a collision, could result in injury if students are not properly seated. While riding the bus, all students are expected to adhere to all of the following expectations:
- The driver is in charge of the bus at all times. All passengers must listen to the bus driver at all times.
- Passengers must be seated at all times. Passengers are to only stand up once the bus has stopped for their bus stop.
- Students are to keep all body parts and belongings inside the bus.
- Students are to speak quietly, politely, and to refrain from loud noises.
- Students are to be respectful to others. They are not to take part in bullying activities.
- Students are to secure personal belongings.
As per safety regulations, the following restrictions are placed as it relates to the transportation of personal property. All personal property should be transported in a secure school bag.
- Students may only transport personal property provided that they can:
- Store it under the seat or on their lap.
- It does not block the isle and emergency exits.
- That can be adequately secured as not to become dislodged and move within the bus.
- The following items cannot be transported on the school bus under any circumstances:
- Animals and firearms
- Flammable materials/substances
- Anything that is dangerous, objectionable in nature, or that might endanger the safety and well being of students on the bus. This includes oversized sports (hockey sticks) or band equipment, skateboards as some examples.
If you have any questions, please feel free and contact the school at 780-939-3593 or our District Transportation Department at 780-459-7711