School bus transportation employees play an important role in the safety of Kansas children.
There were 4,043 bus drivers during the 2019-2020 school year who transported 223,705 Kansas students more than 60.5 million miles. In order to honor their dedication and expertise, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly designated Oct. 21 as School Transportation Day.
The day coincides with National School Bus Safety Week, which is Oct. 19-23. National School Bus Safety Week takes place the third full week of October each year. It is designed to promote school bus safety.
The theme for this year’s campaign is “Red Lights Mean STOP!” The theme is derived from a 2019 national poster contest. The winning poster depicts a student getting on a school bus and was drawn by Bryan Torres-Tavarez, who was in 2019 a 12th-grade student at Stars Academy in Paterson, New Jersey.
Kansas also hosts a yearly school bus safety poster contest. Thie 2020 winners were Aevan Huddleston, who was a second-grade student at Augusta Unified School District 402 during the 2019-2020 school year, and Emma Lightner, who was an eighth-grade student at Garden City USD 457 during the 2019-2020 school year.
The Kansas State Department of Education in 2019 kicked off the Stop on Red, Kids Ahead school bus safety campaign to help bring awareness to the Kansas school bus stop arm law.
Kansas law requires all motorists to stop when approaching or overtaking a stopped school bus displaying its flashing red lights and stop arm. Motorists are to remain stopped until the bus is no longer displaying its flashing red lights and stop arm. Violation of the law is punishable by a fine and court costs in excess of $420.
In April 2019, Kansas bus drivers reported 1,040 stop arm violations. The data was collected during the Kansas One-Day Stop Arm Violation Count. There were 220 districts and 3,300 buses that participated in the April 2019 one-day survey. In April 2018, 214 districts and 3,347 buses participated and reported 1,030 stop arm violations.
“It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure the safety of our students,” said Keith Dreiling, director of KSDE’s School Bus Safety Unit. “School buses are safe, but we know that student passengers are most vulnerable outside of the bus – that’s why it’s so important for everyone to obey the stop arm law. School bus drivers play an important role in the safety of our students, too. I want to invite the state of Kansas to help celebrate the men and women who sit behind the wheel of our buses and dedicate their time and talent to keep our students safe.”
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