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Oct. 19 proclaimed School Bus Drivers’ Appreciation Day in Kansas

Posted: Oct 17, 2016
Categories: KSDE
Author: Ann Bush

TOPEKA — Bus drivers are responsible for transporting 228,198 Kansas students to and from school every school day. To honor these drivers, Gov. Sam Brownback has proclaimed Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016, as School Bus Drivers’ Appreciation Day.

“I hope everyone will join me in honoring these unsung heroes,” said Keith Dreiling, director of the Kansas State Department of Education’s Bus Safety Unit. “These men and women work hard to safely transport our students.”

Kansas school bus drivers have to complete training in accident prevention, first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation CPR.

There are more than 4,100 school bus drivers with commercial driver’s licenses in Kansas. While that may seem like a large number, there is still a shortage of drivers across the state and the nation, Dreiling said. This isn’t a new problem, according to School Bus Fleet. The organization’s website has several articles on districts from across the nation that have had to cancel routes because of a shortage of drivers.

Projections show that openings for school bus drivers will continue to be one of the nation’s top transportation workforce needs, Dreiling said.

School Bus Drivers’ Appreciation Day falls during a week that has been set aside to remind people about school bus safety. National School Bus Safety Week is Oct. 17-21.

In April of each year, Kansas bus drivers have been asked to tally the number of motorists illegally passing their school buses. This began in 2013. In April 2016, there were 2,163 buses participating. The drivers reported 993 illegal passes, which is down from 1,091 in April 2015.

While the number has decreased, it still is critical that everyone continues to pay attention to bus safety. There are 480,000 school buses on the road in the United States. Those drivers provide transportation to 26 million children each school day.

Here are a few bus safety rules that parents can review with their children:

  • While waiting for the bus, stay in a safe place away from the street.
  • Be alert to traffic. When you get on or off the bus, look left, right, left before you enter or cross the street.
  • When you get on or off the bus, look for the bus safety lights and make sure they are flashing.
  • Remember to cross in front of the bus.
  • If something falls under or near the bus, tell the driver. NEVER crawl under the bus to try and pick it up yourself.
  • Don’t jump up or down, fight, bully or tease other passengers or make a lot of noise while riding the bus. These activities can distract the bus driver, and he or she won’t be able to give proper attention to driving.
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