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Children can seemingly vanish in broad daylight from the view of school bus drivers, despite state and federal regulations designed to eliminate the threat of injury in the “Danger Zone”.
It is an area that extends approximately 10 feet from the school bus on all sides. It has proven to be the last treacherous piece of real estate students traverse before reaching the safety of the school bus, and the first hazard they encounter after leaving that sanctuary. It’s a place where students have fallen prey to distracted drivers passing the bus while it is loading or unloading students. Some students have also been killed by their own bus, due to being lost in the blind spots where their driver lost track of them.
Despite the number of student fatalities occurring there being at an all-time low, some student transportation safety experts say there is still much more that can be done to increase the safety of children as they load and unload school buses.
Safety experts offered a series of steps that, when applied in unison, could have a profound impact on the situation. They range from more closely following existing federal safety regulations, to better education for everyone involved, to better administrative oversight and support.
Training is the key. Many districts are training drivers to “rock and roll” — “rock” forward to look for children, before you “roll” away. Placement of mirrors are also found to be a proficient way of making sure children are not in the danger zone. Counting the kids away is another way of making sure the students have left the danger zone.
Anything drivers and students can do to change the danger zone into a safe zone can’t be too much !