Cesar Davila’s winning poster. Photo courtesy NAPT.org
Every year in the third week of October, National School Bus Safety Week is celebrated across the country. The theme for this year is “Stay Back from the Yellow and Black.”
The week is sponsored by the National School Transportation Association, the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services, the National Association for Pupil Transportation, the Pupil Transportation Safety Institute, and school bus manufacturers and suppliers.
The school bus safety tips that will be focused on this week are:
· Stay at least 10 feet back from a school bus until the flashing lights are on and it has come to a complete stop.
· Do not pick up objects near a school bus that have been dropped. Alert the bus driver instead.
· Look both ways before crossing the street after getting off the bus. Not all motorists stop for a school bus with flashing lights.
Promoting School Bus Safety
Every year, a major component of this week is the National School Bus Safety Week Poster Contest. Thousands of school districts participate, encouraging students to creatively convey the message of school bus safety in a fun way.
Winners are chosen for different grades and ages, as well as one overall winner. The winner for this year is 8th grader Cesar Davila from Manzano Middle School in Brownsville, TX. This year, students will create posters to be entered to compete for next year’s poster. The theme for NSBSW 2014 will be “At my Stop – You Stop!” There is also a speech contest for 9-12 graders. The speech must cover school bus safety topics, and the winner can receive up to $1000.
School Bus Safety is for Everyone
It is not just those involved in schools that need to be aware of school bus safety. All motorists need to be aware of the laws regarding school buses, school zones, and school bus stops. Because of this, police in many states are choosing this week to crack down on those who violate these laws.
Remember, if you see a school bus:
· Flashing yellow lights mean the bus is about to make a stop and you should slow down, too.
· Flashing red lights and stop signs mean the bus is stopped and children may be entering or exiting the bus.
· Passing a stopped school bus is illegal and can result in steep fines, depending on your state’s laws.
· If you are traveling the opposite direction of a stopped school bus, you are still required to stop if the road is less than four lanes.
During NSBSW many police officers are choosing to post themselves near bus stops and school zones and will not hesitate to make an example out of violators. You should always drive cautiously near school buses, but it is especially important this week.
How to Get Involved
Schools can use the resources provided by the NSBSW coalition, such as sample news releases, window displays and signs. Schools are also encouraged to involve local media in their school bus safety awareness programs to get communities involved, too.
Events that promote school bus safety range from recognizing a bus driver who promotes school bus safety every day, to banquet honoring the district’s school bus drivers, to transportation open houses that allow parents to see the transportation facilities first hand.
For additional resources, planning tips, and complete rules for the poster and speech contests view the National School Bus Safety Week Resource Guide and Activity Booklet.