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Press Release

Monday, October 20, 2008

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

Department of Education Announces School Bus Safety Week

~ School transportation personnel recognized for continued commitment to student safety ~

TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Department of Education today announced that Florida School Bus Safety Week will be observed October 20-24, 2008. Throughout the week, school and district personnel are encouraged to hold activities that recognize school bus drivers and transportation professionals for their ongoing dedication to the safety of the students under their care. The week’s theme, “Stop on Red, Kids Ahead,” reminds motorists to stop when the red lights of a school bus are flashing, signifying the loading or unloading of students.

“School buses remain one of the safest methods of transportation for our children,” said Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith. “I encourage all Floridians to join me in thanking the dedicated professionals who go above and beyond to ensure a safe and secure travel experience for our students.”

The yellow school bus is one of the most secure modes of transportation for students. All school buses must meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, as well as Florida School Bus Specifications, which outline precise requirements for school bus construction and performance. In addition, Florida public school bus operators are specially trained for transporting students, and are required to pass pre-employment and periodic criminal background checks and drug and alcohol tests. They are also required to hold a Commercial Driver License with a special School Bus Endorsement.

In support of School Bus Safety Week, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is encouraging all motorists to pay special attention for school buses on our roads and to obey all traffic laws to ensure the safety of our students.

“School bus safety is a responsibility that all drivers share because school buses carry our most precious cargo, our children.” said Executive Director of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Electra Theodorides-Bustle. “Give the road 100 percent of your attention while behind the wheel, and know traffic laws that apply to school bus safety. Visit www.flhsmv.gov/SafetyTips/ and find out more about how you can help keep our kids safe while they are riding on school buses.”

Florida continues to improve school bus safety by enhancing bus equipment specifications and providing leadership, training, and assistance to local school districts in transporting students safely throughout the state. To learn more about school bus safety in Florida, visit http://www.fldoe.org/transportation/.