A third-grade girl in Iowa died in a tragic school bus accident last Friday. The crash happened when a car rear-ended a school bus that was stopped to pick-up students on A-50, about four miles west of Highway 18. Jessica Yeaman, a third-grade student at the West Lyon Community School District, died in the crash.

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According to data from the NHTSA, four to six students die in school bus crashes each year. Taking the bus to school should not put a child’s life in danger. School buses are the most regulated vehicles on the road. With safety features such as flashing lights, cross-view mirrors, stop-arms, protective seating, high crush standards, and rollover protection, school buses are designed to be safer than passenger vehicles when it comes to preventing crashes and injuries. When drivers fail to follow the rules of the road by failing to stop for school buses, serious injuries and even death can happen.

In Iowa, the “Keep Aware Driving – Youth Needed School Safety Act” (also known as “Kaydn’s Law”) was signed into law in 2012. In honor of seven-year-old Kaydn Halverson, who was struck and killed by a pick-up truck while trying to cross the street to board the school bus, the law was enacted to protect K-12 students while boarding and un-boarding the school bus. The Iowa Department of Education put together the following list of school bus safety reminders for drivers:

  • Stop your vehicle at least 15 feet from the bus
  • Remain stopped until the bus’s flashing lights are off and the stop arm is back
  • On a four-lane road, traffic moving in the opposite direction must slow down and proceed with caution when lights are flashing red or yellow
  • On a two-lane road, traffic in both directions must come to a full stop when lights are flashing red
  • If you are approaching from the opposite direction, slow your speed to 20 mph when lights are flashing yellow
  • When lights are flashing yellow, all vehicles behind the bus must come to a complete stop