BOISE, Idaho — The Idaho State Department of Education has helped to launch an innovative campaign that involves the sale of specialized motor-vehicle license plates, T-shirts and other promotional items that reinforce school transportation safety messages.
The program was developed by Rodney McKnight, the education department's supervisor of transportation services. It centers around the sale of a license plate that could help to reduce the number of illegal drive-bys of stopped school buses.
"Idaho's approach to this problem is unique," McKnight said. "The 2004 state legislature provided an opportunity to continually remind the motoring public that it is against the law to pass a school bus while it is stopped to load or discharge students."
To that end, the license plate incorporates a school bus image and safety messages such as "STOP! IT'S THE LAW," "Bus Em" and "Student Safety Awareness." The legislature approved the program under statute 49-419D.
Revenue from sales of the plates, which will cost $35 above the regular price the first year and $25 more thereafter, will be used to purchase Buster the Bus instructional robots, to develop school transportation safety awareness curricula and training models and to support regional pupil transportation specialists in helping schools develop student safety awareness programs.
McKnight said the program is modeled after the Idaho Motorcycle Safety Program, which offers a specialized license plate with the image of motorcycles and riders.
The Department of Education is encouraging citizens, especially school administrators, teachers, school bus operators, parents and grandparents, to purchase the license plates and affix them to their vehicles.
In addition to the plates, T-shirts bearing a reproduction of the license plate and its safety messages can be purchased. Parent-teacher-student organizations are being encouraged to buy the customized shirts.