National School Bus Week is nearly here
Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District Superintendent Don Johnson announced today that the week of Oct. 15-19 is National School Bus Safety Week.
“Governor Scott Walker has signed a proclamation and called on citizens of the state to exercise constant courtesy and caution when near school buses,’’ Johnson said.
The district has 60 school buses and transports more than 5,400 students to and from school each day. The buses travel over 811,000 miles a year.
“During School Bus Safety Week we want to inform the citizens of our district about our pupil transportation program,’’ he said. “We are also asking for their cooperation in helping us to maintain or even improve our safety record.
“Our school bus drivers are doing a great job, but they need the cooperation of other motorists.’’
The district spent $2.1 million on transportation services in 2011-12 and used 94,000 gallons of fuel.
Assistant Superintendent for Business Services Tom Wohlleber went on to explain that besides being big business, pupil transportation is also important business.
“Our main concern is safety,’’ he said. “We maintain our buses in safe condition and the Wisconsin State Patrol inspects them annually. Both drivers and students are given instruction in bus safety. Parents can help students be safe bus riders by reviewing Policy No. 443.2 Student Conduct on School Buses with their students, which can be found on the school district website.”
One of the most common driver complaints, according to MCPASD transportation services manager Steve Rammer, is that other motorists frequently violate the school bus stop law.
“Motorists are required to stop for stopped school buses that are displaying flashing red lights and a stop arm,” Rammer said. “Sometimes the drivers are not fully alert and pass a stopped school bus. This is a very dangerous situation for the children, especially the younger ones who may not be watching traffic as closely as they should.”
Rammer also explained that one of the greatest hazards comes from motorists who do not observe the school bus lighting system. MCPASD buses use either a four or an 8-light school bus warning system. These lights are located on the front and rear of the bus near the top where you see the SCHOOL BUS sign.
The lamps are used to warn other traffic about what the school bus is doing. When the bus is approaching a loading or unloading area, the red lights will flash. Red lights will also flash when the bus is stopped to load or unload students and a stop arm will be extended from the side of the bus. If a bus’ red warning lights and stop arm are not activated, but the amber hazard lights are on, you may pass the bus with caution.
A National School Bus Safety Week Resource Guide and Activity Booklet is also available. It is packed with 42 pages worth of great information.