The school transportation industry celebrated School Bus Safety Week by recognizing drivers, reminding motorists and students of proper safety protocols and by introducing new safety tools.
This year’s theme was “My School Bus, the Safest Form of Student Transportation” and was held Oct. 21-25. In celebration, several industry processionals shared posters to help spread the word on school bus safety.
Annie Sovick, program director for Busing on the Lookout, shared a poster outlining what school bus drivers should look for regarding potential child trafficking of their students. The poster reminds drivers to note frequent absences, changes in moods, new gadgets or designer clothes, inappropriate dress for the school and/or weather, visible bruising, or acknowledging having a pimp.
The poster further encourages school bus drivers to take action.
Chelsea Garecht, a public affairs representative for Verra Mobility, reminded motorists last week to obey traffic laws around school buses. Garecht added that to address the problem, school districts have partnered with Verra Mobility to deploy CrossingGuard, a school bus stop-arm technology that mounts special cameras on the side of the bus to detect illegal passing.
Garecht said the schools that have implemented the technology are seeing a change in overall driving behavior, education of drivers on school bus laws, and a reduction in illegal passing incidents.
Meanwhile, the Here Comes The Bus app, powered by Synovia Solutions and owned by CalAmp, celebrated School Bus Safety Week by introducing a new tool that is designed to help fleets of school buses and law enforcement collaborate on the number of school bus stop-arm violations.
Bryan Mitchell, a business development manager for Synovia Solutions, told School Transportation News that Synovia created a module in its software that ties in to the GPS tracking in the bus and the in-cab tablet. Mitchell explained that drivers could push a button on the tablet when a stop-arm violation occurs, so the information can then be tracked and monitored, then converted into a report.
Mitchell added that school districts can share this information with law enforcement to increase awareness about the frequency and common locations of stop-arm violations.
“Our hope is that schools and police will collaborate to better deter stop-arm violations and that schools can use this technology to build smarter routes that may avoid high-risk areas for stop-arm violations,” Mitchell said. “Additionally, schools can publicize they are using the technology to further deter distracted motorists.”
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Other events at school districts focused efforts on recognizing drivers and promoting school bus safety. District officials used social media to show their appreciation for their drivers and their support of the week.
We ❤️ our 🚌 drivers! 👏🏽 Mr. Franklin and team for recognizing the BEST 🚌 drivers in the district! #saferoutes @DrEmilyAMassey @Atldepsupt @apsupdate @APSTransport @PrinDSTaylor @L_Dubyou @HAESPartners @GACommute pic.twitter.com/bWmLCf1id1
— Harper-Archer Elementary School (@APSHAES) October 24, 2019
The theme for next year’s week, celebrated Oct. 19-23, 2020, is “Red Lights Mean Stop.” The 2021 theme is “Can’t Tough This—the Danger Zone.” Posters for the 2021 theme will be accepted until September 2020.
The American School Bus Council (ASBC), which helps promote the week via its website and educational posters, announced other initiatives for involvement. Deb Swift, ASBC coordinator and the owner of Swift Solutions, said at the National Association for State Director of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS) conference that ASBC has opened a new High School Video Contest Scholarship.
“The Value of the Yellow School Bus Education High School Student Video Scholarship Contest” is open to any high school student in the U.S. The videos should be focused on raising awareness and appreciation of the yellow school bus and its role in education.
Three scholarship winners will be chosen and more information on the contest is posted at the ASBC website.
Swift also announced National School Bus Driver Recognition Day, which will be held on May 8, 2020.
Editor’s Note: Download the posters below to share them with your team.