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Running head: SCHOOL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY 1

School Transportation Safety

Ahmaya Ortiz

Hallie Monaghan

Kempsville High School


SCHOOL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY 2

School Transportation Safety

Introduction

Every day students travel to and from school without a second thought of the dangers

they may be in. According to School-Transportation-Related Crashes (2014) “From 2003 to

2012, 174 school-age children died in school- transportation- related crashes, 55 were occupants

of school transportation vehicles and 119 were pedestrians” (p. 1). School transportation has

been proven to be dangerous and although most parents do not think twice about kissing their

children and sending them off to school, they should. From the bus stop to the parking lot,

whether biking, walking, or driving, there are dangers in all forms of transportation. All the

different methods of going to school can be unsafe for students.

Walking And Biking To School (Ahmaya)

According to Virginia Beach Public Schools, students who live within 1.5 miles away

from the school are in the non-transportation zone. Which means they need to walk to school or

find a ride. Walking to school is not always be a bad thing. According to Zhu & Lee (2009)

“walking to and from school increase physical activity, and may help combat childhood

obesity”(para. 3). Because of the distance students walk and will be getting in most of the 60

minutes you need as learned in physical education classes. Biking to school is also another way

students get to school if they live close to the school. It is important to pay attention to any safety

and equipment checks. When riding bikes to school, it is important to don the right fitted helmet,

ride correct size bike, and to wear something that will make the rider seen by drivers (Children’s

Health, n.d.). Numerous websites emphasize the importance of these precautions, according to
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Children’s Health, “somethings to consider are finding a safe route to school, obeying traffic

laws, not to ride in bad weather, and for parents to know when their child will be riding to

school.”

Parking Lot (Ahmaya)

As students approach their junior and senior year they will most likely be driving. School

parking lots are chaotic in the morning times as students and staff search for a parking spot,

parents dropping off their kids and busses dropping students. Obeying the signs of the parking lot

can resolve most of the chaos. Paying attention to the signs and what lanes are what will create a

smooth morning if people follow the rules. Being aware of the surrounding environment will

also help. Cautious driving will prevent some minor accidents. Schools can also try and prevent

accidents by placing parking lot attendants and staff to monitor the parking lots.

Parents (Ahmaya)

Parents have to be aware of the danger they may be putting their child in sending them

off to school everyday. There are many ways to ensure the safety of children getting to school

safely as well as coming home safely. According to Victoria State Government (2017) “Talking

to your child about what they need to know to stay safe is a crucial part of growing.”

Communication is key, talking to children about their thoughts of how they get to and from

school will only benefit the parents understanding. The importance of safety for student

transportation is demonstrated by schools in different ways. Some schools hold open houses and

meetings for parents to attend to talk about the transportation situations. Not only is it the

school’s duty to stress the safety, parents play a major role of getting the important information

to their children.
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Students Point Of View (Hallie)

While parents constantly worry about their children leaving for school, it is commonplace

for students to not give it a second thought. Many students who use the bus complain about

waking up early or a bus being late, but the system is generally very effective for them. The bus

is a reliable method for many students.

However older students who drive their own cars do have some complaints. According to

the Clemson transportation survey (2016), “​90 percent of Clemson students are unsatisfied with

on-campus parking”(para. 1). This is the most common complaint along with safety concerns.

The same survey questioned students who walked or biked to school. They were

concerned about walking or biking late at night. The offered solution was a new transportation

program set up by the school. Several students have shown interest and the school hopes it will

solve transportation issues.

Teachers point of view (Hallie)

The transportation problems are not over everywhere. For example, in West Virginia bus

drivers are going on strike. Similar to teachers, they do not receive a large paycheck. That is one

reason they are on strike but the second is the lengthy and complex routes they have to drive.

Teachers have their own thoughts on how to increase safety for students and themselves.

One article talks about a group of teachers who instead of individually driving their own cars

chose to carpool. One is quoted saying, “​Carpooling makes going to work fun.” (Yackley. 2002,

para. 29). Teachers like students have found alternative ways to go to school that are beneficial

for themselves and others.

Carpooling (Hallie)
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Parking lots at school always become congested before and after school. To decrease the

congestion, people could choose to carpool. According to Flam (2011) ​“The car pool has become

an important piece of the parenting puzzle for some parents of heavily scheduled kids” (para. 5).

For kids who have lots of activities, carpooling is beneficial for their parents and reduces the

craziness of a typical day.​ With it, multiple people get to where they need to go in one car,

saving people a lot of gas money and decreasing the amount of cars on the road. Less cars on the

road equals less traffic. In schools, carpooling has other benefits. Students see their friends more

everyday and carpooling is also environment-friendly. Carpooling is effective and safer for the

students.

School’s Policies (Hallie)

Schools have different ways of tackling the problem of transporting children to school

effectively and efficiently. Many schools in Florida have adopted a new program: School Pool.

¨​School Pool,¨ is “a free service that links parents interested in carpooling their kids to and from

school. Families living in the same neighborhoods can be matched for biking, skating and

walking groups.¨(Salter, 2004, para. 2). The new program is effective and results have been seen

in the schools parking lot. Having an unclogged parking lot is a good strategy for protecting

students.

Most traffic violations happen in school zones according to a survey conducted by

Canada NewsWire (2012) “over three-quarters (78%) of respondents have witnessed people

driving faster than the speed limit; 74% report drivers talking or texting on a cell phone while

driving; 57% report drivers not stopping at a crosswalk (compared to 37% in Ontario); 23%

report drivers not stopping for crossing guards; and 13% report drivers running red lights” (para.
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5). This shows that even though there are laws in place to keep schools safe, not all are followed.

For some it is because the school does not have adequate parking or drop off/pick up zones. But

for schools with adequate parking and enforced zone laws parents cited traffic congestion,

stopping/speeding (depending on scenario) for only a few minutes, and running late as reasons

for disobeying the rules.

State/National Government (Hallie)

Schools have their own ways of keeping transportation safe for students, but on a state

and even in a national level work is done to protect students. For example, the Virginia

Department of Transportation has begun the Safe Routes to School Program (SRTS). It is

designed to make walking and biking to school safer, and should, “​Facilitate the planning,

development, and implementation of projects and activities that will improve safety and reduce

traffic, fuel consumption, and air pollution in the vicinity of schools.” (Safe Routes to School

Program. 2018, para. 3).

On a national level the U.S. Department of Transportation has started an action plan for

bike and pedestrian safety. Though the plan is not focused on student’s protection to and from

school (it has a more generic view and aims to keep everyone safe), it has a positive impact on

students who walk or bike to school.

Movements outside of the government have also grown to protect students. After an

accident in Chicago, Charles M. Hayes founded the AAA School Safety Patrol which recently

celebrated its 90th anniversary according to U.S. Newswire (2010 para. 4). Everywhere around

the United States, many plans have been put into action to help protect students to and from

school.
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Conclusion

The everyday trip for students to school is perilous for some. Everything from walking,

biking, driving or riding the bus have their own separate issues. To further complicate matters,

people have different views on how to have effective transportation. However the national and

state government are creating policies in order to create safer roads and several individuals have

taken action to protect students.


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References

AAA school safety patrol celebrates 90 years of keeping children safe on the way to school.

(2010, Apr 16). ​U.S.Newswire​ Retrieved from

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Alberta survey reveals more than three-quarters of parents polled witness drivers break the law in

school zones. (2012, Oct 02). ​Canada NewsWire​ Retrieved from

​https://explore.proquest.com/document/1081648979?accountid=3785

Blad, E. (2017). Atlanta schools start over with police.​ The Education Digest, 82​(8), 38-44.

Retrieved from​ ​https://explore.proquest.com/document/1877701143?accountid=3785

Riding a bike to school. ​Retrieved from

https://www.childrens.com/health-wellness/riding-a-bike-to-school

Flam, L. A. (2011, Sep 14). Car pools crucial for modern parents:​ Charleston Daily Mail ​Retrieved

from ​https://explore.proquest.com/document/889325235?accountid=3785

Rachel, B. Y. (2002, Apr 20). Carpoolers ride road to friendship.​ Daily Herald​ Retrieved from

https://explore.proquest.com/document/312604144?accountid=3785

Safer people, safer streets: summary of U.S. department of transportation action plan to increase

walking and biking and reduce pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities. (2014, Sep). Retrieved

from ht​tps://www.transportation.gov/sites/dot.gov/files/docs/safer_people_safer_streets_

summary_doc_acc_v1-11-9.pdf

Schwarze, T. (2016, Feb 03). Clemson transportation survey finds clemson transportation services

surve 90 percent of students unsatisfied with parking, transit.​ University Wire

Retrieved from ​https://search.proquest.com/docview/1762186498?accountid=3785


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Stephanie Slater Palm Beach Post,Staff Writer. (2004, Sep 01). School promotes carpool program to

parents, students.​ Palm Beach Post ​Retrieved from

https://explore.proquest.com/document/327045434?accountid=3785

(2018, Jan. 9). Safe Routes to School Program. Retrieved from

http://www.virginiadot.org/programs/srsm_school_travel_plans_and_grants.asp

Zhu, X., & Lee, C. (2009). Correlates of walking to school and implications for public policies:

Survey results from parents of elementary school children in austin, texas.​ Journal of

Public Health Policy, 30​, S177-202. Retrieved from

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