The wheels on the bus need to go ’round and ’round safely

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Philip Wynne, Photographer, Reporter

In Georgia, thousands of school buses carry kids from their home to school and back. Although trips to and from school are common occurrence, the venture can potentially pose a threat for students. Due to danger, bus safety should raise awareness towards numerous families as their kids who want to innocently learn.

From 1995 through 2013, automobiles killed 25 Georgia students trying to get on or off the school bus and accidents on the bus killed at least two, according to the Kansas Department of Education. With proper protocol and standards, less damage would occur. New rules that establish strict manner towards motorists and pedestrians as well as safety precautions help enable the probability of change.

Drivers in all directions must halt if the bus stops and activates its stop sign and safety light, according to state law. However, this does not apply if a median separates the road, allowing drivers to continue. Unfortunately, data collected from a one-day survey of counties around Georgia estimates that around 7,349 vehicles pass school buses illegally. Although offenders can face fines up to 1,000 dollars and six points off their driving record, a greater consequence received such as facing driving school or harsher fines will likely stop more offenders.

More aggressive fines or the risk of mandatory driving school should put some fear into drivers and make them think twice before illegally passing a school bus. This in turn will prevent accidents from occurring as students cross the road or as they get on or off the bus. Numerous parents would enjoy these changes as it ensures safer trips for students getting on or leaving the bus.

School bus accidents are not typically discussed or heard but they pose an issue for aspiring learners. School buses do not include a seat belt harness feature which risks student safety when an accident occurs. Although students enjoy the lack of seat belts, as it allows students to move around and talk to friends, seatbelts are more important for student safety.

On September 15, 2015, a school bus in Houston, Texas crashed, killing two high school students. Unfortunate incidents similar to this could stop with the use of seat belts. Seat belts cannot guarantee students will not sustain injuries, but they could possibly save a life.

School buses tend to do a satisfactory job with safety as they include cameras, lights, stop signs, and more features. However, with these simple improvements, safety becomes a priority. Changes would please many parents and not affect students in a negative manner, but in a positive manner as it shows them that people do care about them.