In an effort to spark extra careful attention to what’s happening outside the bus during loading and unloading times, we’re suggesting mandating mirror checks for employees.
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 111 regulates mirror adjustment. The diagram looks like this:
To help drivers best adjust their mirrors, we paint the ground and give them space to check their mirror adjustments.
This yellow “f” section is for Type D school buses – the ones with a flat front.
Basically, drivers park their buses with the bumper at the front of the painted box. The dots on the ground correspond to the dots on the FMVSS 111 diagram.
With properly adjusted mirrors, drivers will be able to see each and every dot using one or more of the mirrors. Properly adjusted mirrors mean drivers have fewer blind spots and are more able to see students in the “danger zone” around the bus.
Though properly adjusted mirrors are critical, we know it is by far best to keep students in the driver’s direct line of vision. We teach students to cross approximately ten feet in front of the bus after making eye contact with the bus driver and clearly seeing the safety signal (“Thumbs UP for Safety). We encourage students to return the signal as they cross, making them active participants in their own safety. With large group stops, we teach students to wait in a designated location until the bus leaves the area. We try to teach students not to run toward the bus at any time, but wait at the bus stop and walk in an orderly fashion toward the bus at the appropriate time.
In my experience, students are not often actively thinking about their own safety. As public safety stewards, it is our most sacred job to constantly and consistently remind them to be safe.