Denise Kahler, Director of Communications (785) 296-4876
October 21, 2013
For Immediate Release
School Bus Drivers to be Recognized for Service
Governor Brownback Proclaims October 23 School Bus Drivers’ Appreciation Day
TOPEKA, KS - Governor Sam Brownback has proclaimed Wednesday, October 23, 2013 as School Bus Drivers’ Appreciation Day in Kansas. Each year, Kansas school bus drivers transport more than 200,000 students in excess of 66 million miles. Kansas currently employs 4,272 school bus drivers.
Says Keith Dreiling, KSDE Director School Bus Safety Unit, “School bus drivers are the quintessential unsung heroes. Every day we entrust them with our most precious cargo, our children. These drivers are not just trained to respond in emergency situations, they’re trained to prevent emergency situations, just as they would with their own children.”
In addition to obtaining a commercial driver’s license, school bus drivers complete courses in defensive driving, accident prevention, first-aid and CPR – training that isn’t only put to use when school is in session. Last summer, school bus drivers Rannie Schmidt and Diana Schmidt found themselves putting their training into action. The two were in the process of ferrying buses from summer repair in Moundridge, Kansas back to Goessel for the beginning of the school year when they came upon a vehicle laying on its side in a field. The vehicle, containing a woman and her 8-year-old daughter, had left the road and rolled several times in a soybean field. Just days before, the bus drivers had attended recertification training that focused on how to react in emergency situations.
The trained drivers immediately went into action. While one administered CPR, the other called 911 directing emergency personnel to the site of the accident. Mother and child were flown to an emergency facility.
According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, school buses are designed to be safer than passenger vehicles in avoiding crashes and preventing injury, making them the safest mode of transportation for getting children to and from school. It is estimated that school buses keep an annual estimated 17.3 million cars off roads surrounding schools each morning.
In honor of School Bus Drivers’ Appreciation Day, parents are encouraged to review the following school bus safety rules with their children:
1. The bus driver and others cannot see you if you are standing too close to the bus. Stay out of the danger zone! Use five giant steps to estimate at least 10 feet.
2. If something falls under or near the bus, tell the driver. NEVER crawl under the bus to attempt to pick it up yourself!
3. While waiting for the bus, stay in a safe place away from the street.
4. Do not push or shove others.
5. Follow the instructions of your school bus driver.
6. It is important to listen to your bus driver in case there are any special instructions for your bus ride.
7. Keep your head and arms inside the school bus at all times.
8. Keep the aisle and emergency door clear at all times.
9. Do not jump up and down, fight, bully or tease other passengers or make a lot of noise while riding the bus. These activities can bother your bus driver and he or she will not be able to give proper attention to driving.
10. When you get on or off the bus, look for the bus safety lights and make sure they are flashing.
11. Be alert to traffic. When you get on or off the bus, look left, right, left before you enter or cross the street.
12. When the driver says it is safe to cross the street, remember to CROSS IN FRONT of the bus.
For additional information about school bus safety in Kansas, contact the Kansas State Department of Education School Bus Safety Unit at (785) 296‐3551.