Transportation director promotes school bus safety week in Carroll Co.

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By Dave Taylor

School districts and bus drivers from Carroll County and across the country are observing National School Bus Safety Week (Oct. 19-23), to help highlight the importance of school bus safety awareness and education.

“We just want to make people aware of school bus safety this week,” said Nadena Mahoney, director of transportation for Carroll County Schools. “It’s a week every year that we observe to let drivers know our buses are out there every day all during the school year and to please look out for us and the children.”

This year’s theme, “Avoid Harm, Obey the Stop Arm,” emphasizes the importance for drivers to follow the rules of the road by stopping when the red lights flash and the stop sign deploys and children are getting on and off the bus. The stop arm requires drivers in all states to stop.

According to statistics from the National Academy of Sciences and U.S. Department of Transportation, parents trust school bus drivers to transport more than 26 million schoolchildren in 480,000 school buses each day.

“In our district alone, the number of children we transport varies from day to day, but it is somewhere around 1,155 students,” Mahoney said. “Our job is to ensure that they get to and from school safe and sound on each and every ride, which is why we think it is so important to celebrate School Bus Safety Week. We run 22 bus routes every day.”

According to the American School Bus Council, school buses provide more than 10 billion passenger trips each year. In turn, school buses offer solutions to four key issues facing our country:

Safety: School buses are the safest form of transportation for students – and many times safer than riding in the family car.

Traffic: Every child riding a school bus represents one fewer car on the road, especially in the congested area in and around schools, where children are at highest risk.

Fuel Consumption: The ASBC estimates that school bus transportation saves Americans more than $6 billion a year on fuel costs.

Environment: Students riding in the school bus instead of the family car means fewer car trips and less pollution.

The following are some helpful reminders from the ASBC that parents should share with their children:

l Be alert to traffic. Check both ways before stepping off the bus.

l Make eye contact with the bus driver, and wait for the bus driver’s signal before crossing the street.

l Walk in front of the bus; never walk behind the bus to cross the street.

l While waiting for the bus, stay in a safe place away from the street.

l Before leaving the sidewalk, look for the flashing red lights.

l Never go under the bus to retrieve something you’ve dropped.

Motorists are asked to pay special attention to safe driving rules in low-light conditions, Mahoney said, especially on unlit or winding rural roads.

“We’re out there picking up kids early in the morning when it’s still dark and we ask everyone to be careful. We’re transporting your most precious cargo.”

For more information about school bus safety, visit www.americanschoolbuscouncil.org.