According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Organization, a school bus is the safest way to transport your child to and from school—if not one of the safest vehicles on the road. Children are 70 times more likely to get to school safely in a school bus than in a car, and school bus-related casualties account for less than one percent of all vehicular fatalities in a year. There’s no question about it: school bus services are safe.
What, however, makes these services this way? Are the vehicles used in student transportation services designed differently from those used in other group transportation services?
American Student Transportation, a Blaine school bus contractor, explains below what makes school bus services one of the safest methods of transportation around.
Designed With Student Safety in Mind
Part of what makes school bus services so safe is that buses are inherently designed and standardized with safety as a top priority. This wasn’t always the case! Before the year 1939, there were no regulations, federal or otherwise, dictating safety or infrastructure requirements. After a series of accidents involving buses, however, it became obvious that safety should be standardized. A conference was therefore held by school officials, chassis and paint companies, and state representatives; this conference set the grounds for school bus safety design requirements that all school buses must follow today. And they didn’t stop there! As of the year 2000, twelve similar events have been held to revise and update the original design specifications.
But enough history—what about modern school buses make them the safest vehicles on the road?
● Sheer size. A typical school bus can weigh anywhere from 19,501 to a whopping 26,000 pounds. This makes it incredibly difficult for another vehicle to cause it to roll over, meaning that your children are kept out of danger from the concussive injuries caused by such an accident. Moreover, all school buses also come with additional roll-over protection features as dictated by federal law.
● Closely-spaced seats and tall seat backs. These two factors combined provide great impact protection. Because the tall, shock-absorbing seat backs absorb force, and the close spacing keeps kids contained, children are kept safe and in one place in the event of a collision.
● Bright colors. Anyone will tell you that it’s tough to miss a school bus. With their standard shocking yellow paint jobs and flashing red lights, their very appearance is a signal for other drivers to look up, slow down, and pay attention.
● Intelligent chassis design. Chassis is another word for baseframe. A bus’s chassis is composed of the wheels, axles, and other framework that bears the weight of the vehicle. According to the Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety, the chassis of a school bus is seperate from the vehicle’s actual body, which means it both slows and spreads the force of any given crash over the entire bus, instead of concentrating it in one area. This makes the school bus sturdier. Think about it: it’s a lot easier to stay standing in a gust of wind—a weaker, distributed force—than it is after you’ve taken a punch.
● Strong windows. Federal law dictates that school bus windows must be able to take a beating without shattering. In fact, school buses are, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Organization, the most regulated vehicles on the road. If it could be a structural safety concern, there’s probably already a law addressing it.
All the standardized safety features above are in place to protect your child in the event of an accident. These features make school buses vehicular fortresses. However, there’s one important safety feature that stops accidents from happening in the first place.
Drivers Play a Huge Role in Student Safety
The driver, after all, is the one in control of their bus. Attentive, skillful driving is one of the biggest factors that helps transport countless children to school safely each and every day. At American Student Transportation, we pride ourselves in the support of our drivers, and we strive to give them the resources they need to do their jobs well. These resources include:
● Weekly and competitive pay
● Paid training
● A responsive dispatch team
● Help with the licensure process. Learning how to become a bus driver isn’t easy!
● A warm, welcoming community
● GPS systems on every bus
● Great benefits
In Search of the Safest Student Transportation Services? Contact American Student Transportation of Blaine
Our drivers have the resources and training they need to do their jobs—and they’ve all got cheerful attitudes to boot. Make riding the bus a safe and enjoyable experience for your students and make the switch to American Student Transportation Services today. To see what our top-notch drivers can do for your district, give our Blaine terminal a call now at 651-621-8900.