The California Highway Patrol (CHP) was honored on Thursday for its role in the safe transportation of more than 1 million pupils in the state each year.
CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow accepted the 2014 California State Child Safety Award on behalf of the law enforcement agency. The award from the Child Safety Network was presented at the California State PTA convention in Los Angeles. It is considered the highest state honor for excellence in the protection of children and youth.
“The men and women of the California Highway Patrol share my enthusiasm for saving lives, in particular, the lives of our children and youth,” Farrow said. “We take great pride in the fact that the CHP’s School Bus Program is designed to ensure the highest level of safety for California’s students.”
California has a special driver certificate program. Certification is accomplished through an intense qualification and testing process administered by the CHP, along with the California Department of Education and the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Officials said that because of this process, only the most qualified drivers are issued the required school bus driver certificate. Currently, there are about 33,000 certified school bus drivers in California.
The CHP is also responsible for the annual inspection and certification of more than 23,000 school buses in California.
“As a result of the strong emphasis placed on school bus safety, coupled with the continued dedication and professionalism of school bus drivers throughout the state, California has not experienced a pupil passenger fatality on a school bus since 1995,” Farrow said.