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Texas Political Subdivisions (TPS) employees are constantly evaluating ways to help reduce claims. We have noticed a trend of vehicular accidents between buses and private vehicles. Specifically when private passenger vehicles use the bus lanes during dropoff and pickup times. We recently received a claim when a passenger car attempted to pass a bus stopped next to the curb in the bus lane. The bus turned into the vehicle while trying to pass the bus ahead, which was still unloading. This could have been prevented if bus lanes were limited to school bus traffic.  

As you know, this area is very congested during these times. Double parking, erratic behavior, and a dangerous mix of pedestrians and motor vehicles are in close proximity during these operations.  Often, the bus driver is concerned with the loading and unloading of students and may not expect private vehicles to enter and exit these lanes. Passenger cars are much smaller and more agile than buses, and the driver of these vehicles will often try to squeeze around a bus. 

If it is impossible to 100% isolate the bus lanes, then limit access to these lanes to specific hours outside of unloading and loading times. Traffic cones can be an effective means of marking the school bus lanes. Motor vehicles should be limited to single file with no passing while in the unloading/loading areas. Curb striping and other pavement markings can also control vehicle movements during these operations. However, affected drivers may still perform ill-advised movements. 

To reduce this exposure, we recommend that the dropoff and pickup lanes be limited to SCHOOL BUSES ONLY. Signage should be posted at the entrance, instructing students and parents that entry is prohibited and limited to school buses. A security officer should be posted to control traffic entering and exiting the bus lanes to further control this activity.

Of course, the best option would be to design a traffic flow that does not have private passenger vehicles in these lanes, effectively preventing any possible contact between passenger vehicles and buses. To further assist our members, signage and pavement markings may qualify for the TPS Safety Grant Program if TPS provides coverage for the district.

For additional information, registered members can visit our Fleet Safety Training in the Safety Training Center.  Our loss control team is also available to answer questions and provide assistance.