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The safest way to school

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August 16, 2002

"Good morning," Johnny Hudley (left) greets child after child as they make their way to school on his bus. Meanwhile, some parents prefer to drop their kids off at school themselves.

"It's on my route, so I drop them off on way to work," Karen Smith says.

What's the safest way to go? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tracked both forms of transportation the past decade. Their statistics show that a child is eight times more likely to be injured in a crash riding with their parents, than on the bus. 

23.5 million children ride the bus to and from school each day, and though it's big news when it happens, only ten die each year.

"We take a lot of training, we are trained to do what we're supposed to do," Hudley says." We look at all the mirrors, and know what's going on front and back."

Buses are built to withstand major impact, and full of safety measures and devices. The camera serves as an extra set of eyes for the driver. Then there's first aid kits, emergency exits, flashing stop signs, and a team of support staff, like crossing guards, making sure everyone gets on and off the bus safely. 

But still the key to safe driving, is the men and women at the wheel.

"You have to like to do this and want to do this," Hudley says.

They are entrusted with the safety of our children everyday, navigating the twists and turns, and proud of a safety record, that puts them above all others "Safest transportation back and forth to school."

The study found nationwide, school busses travel 4.3 billion of roadways each year. Though they are the safest form of transportation, NHTSA is making some safety improvement recommendations to Congress. They say seat backs should be four inches higher, and should come equipped with shoulder belts.