TOPEKA — Wednesday was proclaimed as School Bus Drivers’ Appreciation Day by Gov. Sam Brownback, thanking them for transporting more than 200,000 students in excess of 66 million miles. Kansas currently employs 4,272 school bus drivers.
“Every day we entrust school bus drivers with our most precious cargo; our children,” says Keith Dreiling, KSDE School Bus Safety Unit director and retired Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper. “These drivers are not just trained to respond in emergency situations, they’re trained to prevent emergency situations every time they take the wheel of that bus. I hope everyone will take a minute to express their thanks to these men and women who safely transport our students to and from school and school activities every day.”
In addition to obtaining a commercial driver’s license, Kansas school bus drivers complete training in accident prevention, first-aid and CPR. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, school buses are designed to be safer than passenger vehicles in avoiding crashes and preventing injury, making them the safest mode of transportation for getting children to and from school. It is estimated that school buses keep an annual estimated 17.3 million cars off roads surrounding schools each morning.
Dreiling stresses the importance of remembering that everyone plays a role in ensuring the safety of Kansas school children. Motorists must exercise caution and obey school bus stop lights and signs and parents should regularly review school bus safety guidelines with their children.
In honor of School Bus Drivers’ Appreciation Day, parents are encouraged to review the following school bus safety rules with their children:
•Drivers cannot see you if you are standing too close to the bus. Stay out of the danger zone. Use five giant steps to estimate at least 10 feet.
•If something falls under or near the bus, tell the driver. Never crawl under the bus to attempt to pick it up.
•While waiting, stay in a safe place away from the street.
•Do not push or shove others.
•Follow the instructions of your school bus driver.
•It is important to listen to your bus driver in case there are any special instructions for your bus ride.
•Keep your head and arms inside the school bus at all times.
•Keep the aisle and emergency door clear at all times.
•Do not jump up and down, fight, bully or tease other passengers or make a lot of noise while riding the bus. These activities can bother your bus driver and he or she will not be able to give proper attention to driving.
•When you get on or off the bus, look for the bus safety lights and make sure they are flashing.
•Be alert to traffic. When you get on or off the bus, look left, right, left before you enter or cross the street.
•When the driver says it is safe to cross the street, remember to cross in front of the bus.
In addition, motorists in either direction are to stop when the school bus has on the red flashing lights and the stop signal arm activated. Those who pass may be subject to a $315 fine plus court costs.
For additional information about school bus safety in Kansas, contact the Kansas State Department of Education School Bus Safety Unit at (785) 2963551.