The American School Bus Council is urging student transporters nationwide to use a new website created in partnership with NHTSA this fall as part of a national public awareness campaign that touts the many benefits of the yellow vehicle.
"We need everyone's help. Hopefully, this campaign will serve as a rallying point where our industry can come together and defend its essential role in our education system," said Bob Riley, executive director of NASDTS, a member of the ASBC. "The campaign is the first step in a larger, multi-faceted campaign to fight transportation service cuts and create a grassroots community capable of protecting the yellow school bus in their district."Last month during the NAPT Summit and NASDPTS annual conference in Cincinnati, NHTSA Administrator David Strickland announced the official roll out of the "My Choice, My Ride" campaign, which came about after industry meetings were held last year with U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
The new website lists school bus safety facts such as a snapshot of school bus vehicle safety and information published by the feds that school buses account for only 2 percent of approximately 800 pupil transportation deaths that occur each year nationwide. Web users can also download tool kits to be used in school board meetings, driver training and other appropriate venues identified by school districts and bus operators.
In addition to the website, "My Choice, My Ride" will feature national radio PSAs that NHTSA will track. Over the summer, ASBC also held additional focus groups with parents that showed that primary messages should be directed at the parents themselves before sharing information with teens and other students. Interesting, ASBC also learned that the safety message was considered by parents to be the most important message to get across over the environmental and gas-saving advantages of school bus travel. The parents also indicated they wanted positive, up-beat and empowering messaging with hard facts but without graphic, shock-marketing tactics.