Ten years and counting, September is officially School Bus Safety Month.
Sen. Deb Fisher of Nebraska introduced the resolution on Sept. 22, with Democrat Sens. Gary Peters of Michigan and Raphael Warnock of Georgia co-sponsoring. It unanimously passed on a floor vote the same day.
The Child Safety Network lobbied for the designation. Founder Ward Leber indicated 1,000 Senate votes, or 100 per year for the past 10, to recognize school bus safety.
The resolution states that 26 million students, or about 48 percent of all public K-12 students in the U.S., ride 506,520 school buses over 4.4 billion miles each year to and from school. Meanwhile, the Federal Highway Administration Household Survey in 2017 stated the student ridership figure is closer to 17 million students, or about a third of the public K-12 enrollment.
Results from the 2020 FHA Household Survey, which may reflect even fewer riders due to the COVID-19 pandemic, have yet to be released. But school districts nationally are widely reporting further ridership reductions because of ongoing school bus driver shortages and resulting route cuts, consolidation or rotating service.
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Still, the Senate resolution buoys the potential of CSN-produced public service announcements that call attention to the dedication of the nation’s school bus drivers and professionals. It notes free resources available to school districts and parents regarding child safety on and around school buses as well as programs to encourage motorists to drive safely around school buses, and to come to a complete stop for those with red lights flashing and federally mandated stop arms extended for students who are boarding or exiting.
CSN is also facilitating the distribution of school bus security awareness training from the Transportation Security Administration to 14,000 school districts. So far, the federal First Observer program has trained over 118,000 school bus operators and provided nearly 167,000 counterterrorism guides.