While driving down the street, you may have noticed the emergence of the big yellow school bus from its summer hibernation. Fall has arrived and brought with it rustling morning traffic to start off the school day. Operating a school bus can be a delicate feat with all this commotion. According to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, between 2004 and 2013 there were 116 fatalities caused by school transportation. Sixty-two percent of those were from school buses. Although these statistics are drastically safer when compared to privately owned cars and trucks, as a driver and school bus provider you want to play it safe.

Know the code

Hiring and maintaining drivers who have been properly trained and are aware of the safety standards of your district is key. Checking credentials is the first step in preventing accidents. Consider also providing safety incentives and providing your drivers with cameras and GPS equipment to help them carry out your safety expectations. The state of Arizona suggests liability insurance can be purchased by the district or driver. Talk with a provider to see if more coverage is necessary and to make sure your drivers, passengers, and equipment are covered.

Watch for Xings

Especially at railroad crossings, drivers should take caution to be hyper aware of the space they have to cross and their surroundings. Make sure to turn down the radio and other distractions when crossing. Do not change the gears of the vehicle when crossing. Crossings and turns should be approached with care in order to prevent accidents.

Plan routes safely

Take care to plan routes which avoid narrow streets or those with increased traffic flow. Are there obstructed views? How high are the speed limits? Planning now can lead to less stress later.

Report claims quickly

In the case of an accident, make sure your drivers know to report what happened immediately. The sooner your insurer has your claim, the more protection they can provide you. Ideally you should report the claim within the first 24 hours.

Keep safe and start the school year off right. For more safety tips check out the National Safety Council’s website.