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Press ReleaseMonday, October 19, 2009
DOE Press Office
Florida Recognizes National School Bus Safety Week
~ Schools focus on the importance of bus safety during national week-long celebration ~
TALLAHASSEE – Schools throughout Florida began highlighting the importance of school bus safety awareness and education today in honor of National School Bus Safety Week (NSBSW), celebrated October 19-23, 2009. This year’s theme, Avoid Harm, Obey the Stop Arm, reminds motorists of the need to stop when the red lights flash and the stop arms deploy on school buses. During the week, districts are encouraged to recognize dedicated transportation professionals and bus drivers who work hard each day to ensure the safe and dependable transportation of students.
“National studies conclude that school buses are one of the most secure ways for students to travel to and from school,” said Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith. “This week is an excellent way to educate students about school bus safety issues and honor the transportation professionals who devote themselves to ensuring the safe travel of Florida’s students.”
The safety of the yellow school bus is unparalleled by any other means of automotive transportation. School buses are equipped with more safety features than any other vehicle and are required to meet numerous comprehensive safety specifications, including the requirements of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and Florida School Bus Specifications. In addition, all public school bus drivers must receive rigorous, specialized training in transporting students, student behavior management, security and emergency medical procedures. More than one million students ride the school bus in Florida each day, with more than 26 million schoolchildren transported in 480,000 school buses nationwide.
During NSBSW, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) urges Floridians to show their support by following all traffic laws and taking extra precautions when school buses are present. DHSMV provides a quick reference and useful tips for drivers and for students on its website at www.flhsmv.gov/SafetyTips/ChildSafety.htm.
“Drivers share the responsibility of making sure children can be safely transported on a school bus,” said Julie L. Jones, Executive Director of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. “This week’s observance is a good time for drivers to ensure they know the road rules concerning school bus safety.”
For years, school buses have provided safe access to learning for Florida’s school children through secure and dependable transportation to schools. To learn more about school bus safety in Florida, visit http://www.fldoe.org/transportation/.