A Call for Public Involvement

Posted on February 1, 2002
School bus safety is not solely your operation’s responsibility, though it may seem so at times. It’s also important for the general public to understand school transportation safety laws. The Indian River County School District in Vero Beach, Fla., worked with the Indian River County Sheriff’s Department and AT&T Broadband to film and broadcast a school bus safety commercial about the dangers of stop-arm running. The announcement shows a school bus unloading passengers and explains the proper procedures for stopping. Kathleen Geyer, director of transportation for the school district, said the idea for the commercial came about in the wake of a loading/unloading zone fatality a few years ago. “I told the sheriff’s department that I thought we needed more public awareness, and officer Raphael Almonte became determined to make people understand that they need to stop for school buses and stay clear during loading and unloading,” she said. “Between the impact of the accident and his commitment, we made it happen.” The commercial was staged under the direction of Almonte, using a district school bus and driver, several schoolchildren and AT&T Broadband’s technical expertise. It runs on local television stations and is used as a driver-training tool. As for its effectiveness, Geyer said all the police departments in the area are now looking more closely for stop-arm runners. “There is a greater awareness in the community for school bus safety, especially in the law enforcement arena.”
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