State and local law enforcement are providing safety-focused resources and recommendations during School Bus Safety Week.
Every year, the National Association of Pupil Transportation sponsors the week-long awareness and educational program. Police departments and state troopers drew attention to this year’s theme of #StopOnRed, which refers to laws in all 50 states that require motorists to stop for school buses that have their flashing red lights and stop arm deployed and are pulled over to board or unload students.
The police department and a local television station in Northampton, Massachusetts, produced a video, which can be viewed below, that starred child actors, reviewed common excuses for illegally passing a school bus, and reiterated the state law.
“It's National School Bus Safety Week-please pay attention around school buses!” Tweeted the Alexandra, Virginia police department.
In Ohio, state troopers plan to “increase visibility on school bus routes and school-related safety zones by following or riding on school buses to identify violations.” Similar efforts will be taken on Wednesday by Westtown-East Goshen police officers in Pennsylvania, who “will work with the West Chester Area School District and Krapf Bus Company on different bus routes where violations of this law have occurred.”
"Speeding in school zones, passing a school bus that has stopped to let students on or off, or driving while distracted near schools is not only against the law, but it puts children's lives in danger," reminded Timothy D. Sini, police commissioner of Suffolk County, New York.
Texas’ Department of Public Safety is placing troopers on school buses or in close proximity to them in order to catch violators. DPS Director Steven McCraw warned that “DPS will not tolerate those who recklessly endanger children by ignoring the law.” Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath commended “the dedication of our Texas Highway Patrol, as well as local law enforcement, during National School Bus Safety Week and throughout the year in working to keep our students safe.”
The Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C. emphasized the vital component of training students to get out of the bus’ danger zone as quickly as possible and not go back for any dropped items. “If we all do our part, if motorists heed school bus warning lights, bus drivers drive defensively, parents help their children learn to ride safely, and children learn to avoid the bus's danger zone, a yellow bus can be the safest ride to and from school,” it said.
Coinciding with School Bus Safety Week, Michigan State Police announced that they would “engage in heightened traffic safety enforcement aimed at unsafe driving behaviors” as part of “Operation Safe Driver Week,” which was created “to help decrease the number of deaths and injuries resulting from crashes involving large trucks, buses and passenger vehicles due to unsafe driving behaviors like speeding and distracted and aggressive driving.”
Editor's Note: Stay tuned for updates on how school districts and school bus contracting companies are observing School Bus Safety Week.