Although the ride itself may be safe and sound, loading and unloading school buses pose serious risks for children. The Mississippi Department of Transportation is encouraging all motorists to practice bus safety precautions.
Jason Scott is with MDOT. He says one of the biggest problems is vehicles that try to go around a bus that is picking up or dropping off students - a practice that is illegal.
"If they don't see a child immediately getting on or off the school bus, they may want to zip around that school bus, and that's the worse thing you could do. Just because you can't see children on the sidewalk doesn't mean
that there's not a child about to get off of the school bus," says Scott.
Scott says there are ways for parents to get involved as well - such as walking their kids to the bus stop and waiting with them, teaching them to wait to get on or off when the bus has come to a complete stop, telling the child to make eye contact with the driver before crossing the street.
Drivers also play a part in bus safety.
Anitra Townsend is a Jackson Public Schools District bus driver. She says anything can happen, but her training and qualifications help her keep her passengers' safety as the number one priority.
"I have to watch out for traffic. I have to watch out for the children. I have to be listening. People that run the stops signs when I'm trying to unload or other motorists are always challenges. Sometimes, its a lot of close calls," Townsend says.
Transportation officials are reminding drivers to pay attention to flashing lights on buses. Yellow lights mean prepare to stop. Red lights plus an extended stop arm mean stop and look for students getting on or or off the bus, or crossing the street.