You can't get very far in New Jersey without seeing a school bus, especially while driving around town.

Maybe you spend mornings and afternoons at the bus stop waiting for your kids to get on and off the bus.

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Have you ever noticed the 3 black stripes on the side of a school bus?

Those lines are not just part of the color design, there's a real reason every school bus in New Jersey has them.

Photo by Robin Jonathan Deutsch on Unsplash
Photo by Robin Jonathan Deutsch on Unsplash

There have been social media posts, and some have gone viral over the years, claiming the 3 black lines are for emergency personnel to know where to cut if the bus was ever in an accident.

The lines match the seat level, floor line, and bottom of the outer skirt of the bus.

But, is that true? What is the real reason?

Photo by Austin Pacheco on Unsplash
Photo by Austin Pacheco on Unsplash

Well, a spokesperson for Student Transportation of America says, "While the lines generally line up with specific areas on the school bus, their main purpose is protection in the event of side impact or rollover."

They're called rub rails and add structure and support to the bus. They're designed to add a layer of protection helping to absorb the force of a crash and are required on all school buses.  

Although the lines could help emergency personnel, that's not their main function.

The next time you see a school bus, now you know what those three black stripes are for.

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