As National School Bus Safety Week draws to a close, student transporters and related companies stress the importance of pushing safety all year long. The 2012 safety week theme, "I see the driver. The driver sees me!" highlights the importance of keeping children safe outside the school bus, especially when they are boarding or exiting.
In the past two weeks, three students were struck and killed while trying to board their school buses, and today, the final day of safety week, a fourth-grader waiting for a school bus was hit by a truck driver who veered around the school bus. Fortunately, the boy’s injuries are not life threatening.
“We urge motorists to avoid distractions and remain alert while sharing the road with school buses,” said Gary Catapano, senior VP of safety for First Student. “More than 26 million students ride the school bus each day. Together, we can prevent injuries and save lives.”
First Student is one of several school bus contractors, including Durham School Services, Petermann and STI, to recognize School Bus Safety Week, Oct. 22–26.
Hanging on the wall of the First Student building in Dalton, Ga., are statistics showing just how safe school bus transportation is for Dalton Public Schools students — large numbers proudly display how long it has been since the last injury and accident.
“First Student sets a goal to reduce accidents,” said location manager Anita Brown. “We only hit a basketball goal last year, so it’s hard to reach the next goal when you were pretty much perfect.”
School bus contractor STI and its subsidiaries took time this week to honor their employees with exemplary safety records. "School Bus Safety Week provides us with an opportunity to honor those employees who go above and beyond the call of duty. Some of our drivers have accident-free records spanning more than 35 years,” said Don Weir, STI director of passenger safety and compliance.
As part of this industrywide safety education effort, Durham and Petermann are reminding both students and parents of the following school bus safety tips:
• Arrive at the bus stop five minutes early
• Stand at least five giant steps (10 feet) away from the road
• Wait until the bus stops, the door opens and the driver gives the OK before boarding
• Check both ways for cars before stepping off the bus
• When crossing the street, walk in front of the bus — never behind it
• Be sure the bus driver can see them and they can see the bus driver, and
• Wait for the driver’s signal to cross the street.
“Safety is one of our core values, and there is nothing more important than getting our students to school safe, on time and ready to learn, and back home to their families every day," said Bob Trinkleback, VP of safety for Durham and Petermann.
In honor of safety week, American Traffic Solutions developed a campaign, “Flashing Red, Kids Ahead,” to inform motorists about traffic laws and other safe practices around the school bus. Rosco Inc. also joined the weeklong safety event and noted the importance of enhanced visibility around school buses, which are still the safest mode of transportation for children.
According to the American School Bus Council, students are 50 times safer riding a school bus to and from school than driving themselves or riding with friends, and 20 times safer than riding with a parent or other adult.