Students can pose with Safety Dog, First Student's mascot, during tour stops. Shown here are students posing with Safety Dog during the 2018 tour. Photo courtesy First Student

Students can pose with Safety Dog, First Student's mascot, during tour stops. Shown here are students posing with Safety Dog during the 2018 tour. Photo courtesy First Student

CINCINNATI — School transportation provider First Student is kicking off the back-to-school season with its fifth annual Safety Dog Bus Tour centered on school bus safety.

Starting Aug. 29 in Racine, Wis., the Safety Dog Bus Tour will travel to 12 locations across North America to reinforce safe school bus behavior.

"Student safety is at the heart of everything we do," said Paul Osland, First Student chief operating officer and interim president. "The Safety Dog Bus Tour teaches students appropriate school bus behavior at the start of the school year. We make it fun, interactive, and most importantly, memorable."

During the tour event, students can see firsthand how a First Student bus is designed for safety inside and out; walk a yellow carpet and pose for a photo with Safety Dog, First Student's safety mascot; sign a safety pledge; and leave with a goodie bag.

The tour also aims to remind motorists that they, too, have an essential role in keeping bus riders safe by obeying stop-arm safety laws. A recent survey conducted by the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services suggests there could be more than 17 million illegal stop-arm passes during a school year.

Since 2015, there have been 33 stops on the Safety Dog Bus Tour. In total, more than 29,000 guests have visited a stop, and more than 11,000 students signed a safety pledge, according to First Student.

A full list of tour dates, times, locations, safety tips, and downloadable activities for students and parents is available at safetydogbustour.com. Safety tips and tour updates also can be found by following First Student on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, as well as by using the #SafetyDogBusTour hashtag.

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