A five-year-old girl was killed while riding on her bus when the school bus driver lost control, ran off the road and into a ditch, and hit a tree. Our thoughts go out to the families of all involved in this tragedy. More details can be found at:
It is worth noting that this girl was sitting in the front right area of the bus. While technically there is no safest seat on any vehicle, the practice of “Middle Loading” should be looked at as a tool to protect our passengers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends in their curriculum titled
Loading and Unloading for School Bus Drivers – NHTSA
the following recommendations:
- “If the bus is not filled to capacity, have students sit in the middle of the bus.”
- “The National Transportation Safety Board recommends that “no passenger occupy seats in either the foremost or rearmost rows of passenger seats until all other seats have been occupied.” This practice will limit passenger exposure to rear- and front-end impacts.”
This practice is also detailed in New York State’s annual document titled “School Bus Safety is One Bus Stop At A Time (SBSIOBSAAT)
specific recommendations include:
- Use Middle Loading Whenever Possible
- In the morning, keep children out
of the rear and front seats until
all other seats are filled. In the
afternoon, empty the rear and front
seats first. Train children to fill
the middle seats first. Children in
rear and front seats may be more
vulnerable to injury in certain types
of severe collisions.
- Middle loading saves lives. It has
been recommended by the National
Transportation Safety Board and
the State Education Department for
- Middle loading is especially important on bus routes with high-speed truck traffic.
- Teach children why you don’t want them in the back or front seats if the bus isn’t full.