With National School Bus Safety Week just around the corner — it runs Oct. 18-22 — operations, organizations and individuals are working hard to ensure that kids understand their role in traveling to and from school safely.
The theme of this year’s School Bus Safety Week is “Cross in View, It’s the Right Thing to Do!” The theme was derived from the National Association for Pupil Transportation Poster Contest from last year.
(The 2010 Poster Contest theme, which is "Be Aware — Know the Danger Zone!", will become the 2011 National School Bus Safety Week theme.)
In keeping with this year’s theme, Safe Kids Kansas Inc., a non-profit coalition of more than 70 statewide organizations and businesses that are dedicated to preventing accidental injuries to children in Kansas, has published 10 tips that children should know.
“Arrive at the bus stop five minutes early,” “wait until the bus stops, the door opens and the driver says it is OK before moving towards the bus,” and “be alert to traffic” are among the tips that the coalition offers.
Cherie Sage, state director of Safe Kids Kansas, also says that children should be reminded of the 10-foot danger zone around the school bus where the driver can’t see them.
“To be sure the bus driver can see them, young children should take at least five giant steps away from the bus while entering or exiting the bus. Older kids who must cross the street should look at the bus driver for an ‘OK’ sign before crossing in front of the bus,” Sage adds.
Avonmore, Ontario-based Delaney Bus Lines Ltd. got a head start on observing School Bus Safety Week by partnering with a local school for a project that combined arts education with bus safety lessons.
Last week, the school bus contractor and East Front Public School encouraged students to display art in the windows of a Delaney bus parked on school grounds. The pastels and paintings of fall flowers, owls and other fall scenes was created under the guidance of a local artist, Seaway News reports.
The students then received a bus-shaped safety card from Delaney Bus Lines. The card provided information on everything from safe distances to cross in front of a stopped bus to ways to exit in the event of an accident.
“There was no doubt in our minds about participating in this project when East Front Public School proposed it,” Delaney Bus Lines General Manager Mark Begg told Seaway News. “Raising awareness about School Bus Safety Week and the importance of school buses in a unique fashion was exciting for us and provided a new form of artistic development for the students we transport.”
In anticipation of next week, students at Lyon County School District in Yerington, Nev., will be given one rule a day by their bus drivers that they should follow. Then, next week, each transportation area will hold one assembly at each elementary school for students from early childhood education through third grade, according to a story on RGJ.com.
The assemblies will consist of a video presentation on bus safety and a question and answer session where the teachers and drivers ask students questions about safe riding.
Bus safety assemblies will also be the focus of next week’s efforts at Willard (Mo.) R-2 School District. The district has hired Gina Crump, creator of the "Respect the Ride" bus safety program, to conduct the assemblies.
“I am using an actual driver's seat and passenger's seat in the assembly since we can't bring the whole bus inside,” Crump told SBF. “I am going to focus on the vast responsibilities that the school bus driver has and the important responsibilities that students have in bus safety.”
Crump will also hold a workshop for bus drivers and transportation directors to share ideas and celebrate the role that school bus drivers play in the school community.
“I know that neither of these are novel ideas, but they haven't been done around here [southwest Missouri],” Crump said. “I'm hoping to bring attention to the positive things that school districts are doing to improve bus safety.”
In Florida, the departments of Education, Transportation, and Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles have teamed up to develop the “Stop on Red, Kids Ahead” campaign to remind drivers of the state’s laws when approaching a school bus — another vital component to making sure that students get to and from school safely.
The state’s Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ (DHSMV) Website has diagrams that illustrate when motorists must stop for a school bus when students are loading and unloading. The site also features a video that discusses the state’s school bus stop arm law, a school bus’ safety features and the number of illegal bus passing incidents annually in Florida.
In addition, a School Bus Safety Week toolkit, safety tips and information about bus safety events around the state are available on the DHSMV Website.