Between 2010 and 2014, there were 122 school kids (aged 5-16 years) either hurt or killed after being hit by a bus. Of these accidents, 96 happened during school travel times – mostly between three and four o’clock in the afternoon.
Before you think these accidents must only happen to Kindy kids when they run out onto roads unaware of their surroundings, 26 of the casualties recorded were 10-12 years of age. If you consider it, it wouldn’t take much for older children, who have more independence from their parents and are more self-confident, to become distracted in the rush to chat with friends or get home from school.
Greg Prior, Department of Education, Deputy Secretary, School Operations and Performance, says buses play a vital role in transporting school students to and from school each day. ‘It’s important that our students understand how to stay safe when travelling on a bus and feel confident in taking this mode of transport,’ he says.
With more than 600,000 school children travelling on buses each week, it’s a no-brainer that our kids all need to know how to act safely in and around these large, heavy vehicles. Transport for NSW has just launched a fantastic new campaign to do just this: it is encouraging kids to become Bus Safety Agents, reminding them to STOP, LOOK, LISTEN and THINK when around or on a bus (of course, this message applies to other modes of transport as well).
Bus Safety Agents are encouraged to follow this checklist.
- Don’t stand too close to the kerb when waiting for a bus
- Don’t push in line while trying to get onto a bus
- Once onboard, make sure you sit down in an available seat as quickly as possible
- Place your bag on your lap on under the seat – not in the aisle where others could potentially trip over
- Stay in your seat until the bus comes to a complete stop
- Don’t be distracted by friends or technology when exiting the bus and crossing any roads
- Use pedestrian crossing and lights when venturing across roads to catch or exit a bus
To help kids in primary school better understand how they can be safer on and around buses, the Centre for Road Safety has developed an educational video. It helps children to think like secret agents, identifying danger spots. And it provides tips on how to stay safe while travelling to and from school. It’s actually based on a video game (so is pretty cool) and the main character is rewarded for safe behaviour. It’s being distributed throughout schools in NSW, but you can see it here.
To learn more about road safety, you can also head to Safety Town, which is designed specifically for school kids in Years 5 and 6. Resources for younger students will be available in 2016.