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In-Service Safety Series
In-Service Safety Series
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Time: 1 hour 15 minutes (without 9-minute film)

Description: In every crash involving a child being struck by a school bus, driver error was indicated: the driver “lost” the child during loading or unloading. If the driver had done the job correctly, the student wouldn't have been struck. At the completion of this module, participants will be able to:

  1. State what the danger zones are.
  2. Explain the importance of the danger zones.
  3. Teach students about the danger zones.
  4. Describe ways to keep track of students in the danger zones.

#1 The Danger Zones
#2 Getting On and Off the Bus Safely
#3 Proper Loading and Unloading Procedures

Child Transportation Safety Tips:
School Bus Stops: A Risky Part of the Ride
Handrails & Drawstrings: Clothing Causes School Bus Hazard

Could be presented with:
Student Management
Transporting Infants and Toddlers
Knowing Your Route

What the Pupil Transportation Supervisor Can Do

  • Have people available at each school to help with loading and unloading.
  • Work with preschool programs and elementary schools to teach children about the danger zones.
  • Encourage parents to be present at bus stops to help with loading and unloading.
  • Establish a policy that preschool and kindergarten children should be dropped off only when an authorized adult is present.
  • Make sure that your policies on loading and unloading are up-to-date and are distributed regularly to all drivers.
  • Require your drivers to conduct a post-trip inspection. Make the Post-Trip Inspection checklist on Handout #3 into a card mounted in each bus.
  • Establish bus routes that minimize the number of students who must cross the street.
  • Establish a school protocol for how a school bus driver should handle suspicious people or gangs at a bus stop. For example, you might require the school bus driver to call in for advice on how to proceed. You might decide that the child should not get off the bus until he or she and the driver feel it is safe.

Additional Resources

  1. THE MOMENT OF TRUTH: School Bus Loading and Unloading Safety (1997). This 22-page booklet offers procedures, tips, and cautions for and from school bus drivers. Pupil Transportation Safety Institute, (see General Resources), $1 each for 25 or more.
  2. National School Bus Loading and Unloading Survey. Compiled annually. Kansas State Board of Education, School Bus Safety Education Unit, 120 S.E. 10th Avenue, Topeka, KS 66612-1182, (913) 296-3551.
  3. Danger Zones (poster, 1990). AAA, (800) 305-7233 or (407) 444-7000.
  4. THIS COULD SAVE YOUR CHILD'S LIFE: A School Bus Handrail Handbook (1996). Describes how children exiting a school bus may be harmed if their clothing or accessories (backpack straps, dangling key chains, etc.) get caught in the handrail or door. Describes how to test school bus handrails and eliminate the potential for snagging. #DOT HS 808-451. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 400 7th Street, NTS-15, SW, Washington, DC 20590,, (202) 366-1739.
  5. Trouble Spots (14 minutes, 1991). Designed for students but makes an excellent driver training film. Describes the danger zones and covers loading and unloading. Seven Oaks Productions, 9145 Sligo Creek Parkway, Silver Spring, MD 20901, (301) 587-0030.
  6. Walk Ride Walk (teachers guide, poster, videotapes). Complete program to teach school bus safety to school children grades K-6. Also includes support materials for parents and school bus drivers, including videos and brochures. National Safety Council, (800) 621-7619. $55.
  7. A Matter of Survival (20 minutes, 1998). Presents the safety issues around the perimeter of the bus and potential hazards for students entering and exiting the bus. Strategies Training Systems, 15914 232nd Ave. NE, Woodinville, WA 98072, (800) 600-5636,

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