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Why Are School Buses Yellow?

Article By: Ms. Achsha

Whether you are 8 or 80 years old, at some point in your life, you have ridden on a school bus. Tell the truth; you've sang The Wheels on the Bus at LEAST once. You've probably also wondered "Why are school buses yellow?"

They aren't actually yellow; they're more of a yellow-orange and is officially called National School Bus Glossy Yellow. The color was adopted in 1939 and standardized across North America by 1974.

More than 27 million students are transported to and from school daily on a school bus and yellow school buses with black lettering give the greatest visibility in early morning and late afternoon hours, when school bus traffic is at it's highest. This bright and familiar color increases the odds that a driver will see school buses in their line of sight when driving which heightens safety; a driver is 1.24 times more likely to notice the color yellow than the color red in their peripheral vision.

The recognizability of the yellow color of school buses is especially important since school buses are also legally recognized as moving traffic signals. The flashing overhead red and yellow alternating lights and the red stop sign that opens next to the driver on the left sign is meant to stop traffic so that students can enter/exit the bus and cross the street safely.

Woman Drives on Sidewalk to Avoid Stopping for School Bus (video clip)

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