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Paulding Schools Recognizing Bus Safety Week

The annual observance begins Monday, and district officials want pupils, parents and community members to know the importance of safety around their buses, which transport more than 18,000 students a day.

Officials from Paulding County Schools want students, parents and drivers to know their roles in school bus safety.

Monday marks the start of National School Bus Safety Week, an observance promoted by the New York-based National Association for Pupil Transportation.

Paulding County Schools, along with other school districts and safety advocates throughout Georgia, are using the week as an opportunity to highlight the importance of school bus safety. The 2012 theme for the week, “Stand Back from the Yellow and Black,” reminds students of the 12-foot danger zone that surrounds a stopped school bus. But drivers should also be reminded of their important role in stopping and exercising care and patience when a school bus flashes its red lights and extends its stop arm.

District officials say school buses are equipped with more safety features than any other vehicle and are required to meet numerous safety specifications, including state and federal requirements. In addition, all public school bus operators receive rigorous, specialized training on a variety of topics before they can take the wheel of a bus.

“When transportation is required, school buses are the safest way for students to get to and from school,” said Terre Loveall, transportation director for Paulding County Schools, in a district news release last week. “This week is an excellent time to teach and reiterate to students and parents simple measures they can take while going to and from the bus stop, getting on and off the bus, and riding in the bus. It also gives us a chance to thank and honor the professional school bus drivers, monitors, and mechanics who devote themselves to the safe transportation of our most precious cargo.”

More than 18,000 students ride a school bus in Paulding County daily. On average, their 252 route buses travel 13,000 miles a day.

As part of the safety week, the Paulding district will be observing Georgia School Bus Driver Appreciation Day on Monday to recognize those who transport students to and from school each day.

“I would like to acknowledge and thank all of our drivers, monitors, mechanics and transportation staff for their commitment to the safety of the thousands of students they transport each and every day. Our transportation employees play a key role in meeting the mission of the district, which is to prepare all students for success in the 21st century,” Superintendent Cliff Cole said in the release.

According to School Bus Information Clearinghouse, a service of the National Association for Pupil Transportation, the safety record for the 25 million children nationwide who ride school buses to and from school each day is five passenger fatalities and 15 pedestrian fatalities at school bus stops. The nationwide safety record for the 25 million children who do not ride school buses to and from school each day includes 448 fatalities in passenger vehicles with a teenage driver, 169 fatalities in passenger vehicles with an adult driver, 131 fatalities to pedestrians and 46 fatalities to bicyclists.

To learn more about school bus safety, visit www.schoolbusinfo.org.

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