Driver Ashley

Valerie Ashley, a school bus driver, inspects a bus prior to departing the First Student bus depot in Warwick, R.I. This week is school bus safety week.

National School Bus Safety Week is this week, Oct. 21 to 25.

This year’s theme is: My School Bus, The Safest Form of Student Transportation!

This is a very important statement. For this to be true everyone has to do their part. On a single day last year nearly 131,000 school bus drivers in 39 states reported that 95,319 vehicles passed their buses illegally, according to an annual survey conducted by the National Association of State Directors (NASDPTS) of pupil transportation services. This is an increase over last year’s survey when the number was 83,944.

According to NHTSA students are about 70 times more likely to get to school safely when taking the school bus instead of traveling by car.

Everyone has a part in making the yellow school bus the safest mode of transportation. Parents need to remember that the greatest time of danger for your child is not when they are on the bus, it is when they are going to and from the bus.

There is also a danger zone around the Bus. Motorists must stop when the red lights are flashing no matter what direction they are approaching a stopped school bus (unless there is a divided highway) motorists must also pay more attention for children coming and going to the school bus.

Children under 10 years old need to be the most closely supervised at the Bus stop. These children lack the cognitive development required to be fully aware of the dangers of traffic and roadways.

Children are required by MA Law (M.G.L.c.90 s7B.) to be educated on school bus safety in class three times a year in school and practice school bus evacuation twice a year. Make sure your child NEVER crosses behind the bus and always crosses only after the driver has signaled them to cross.

As we think about school bus safety week, please remember that everyone has a part in making the school bus a safest form of transportation to and from school.

We must all do our part to keep our children safe.

The writer is a bus driver trainer.

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