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October 22, 2013 (Sacramento) – School bus safety is a two-way street, a responsibility shared by professional school bus drivers and the rest of the motoring public.  To help bring awareness to the safe transportation of students throughout the state, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) is proud to observe National School Bus Safety Week, October 21–25, 2013.

Nearly one million California students ride on school buses every day and more than 25,000 certified drivers are dedicated to providing safe transportation for children in the state.  These drivers go through 40 hours of intense training by the Department of Education, in addition to a rigorous certification process by the CHP, physical examinations, and drug tests.  Drivers must also possess a valid first aid and medical card and obtain a background clearance from the California Department of Justice.  Additionally, the CHP inspects and certifies every bus annually.

“School buses provide safe transportation for getting children to and from school,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow.  “Not only are the buses designed for safety, the drivers operating them are well-trained drivers and certified by the state.”

Although there were more than 1,700 collisions involving school buses in 2011, preliminary data from the CHP’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System indicates no school bus passengers were killed in those crashes.

According to the California School Employees Association, studies have shown that the most dangerous part of a school bus ride is when the students are getting on and off of the bus.  Motorists are encouraged to pay attention to school buses when bus warning lights are flashing.  In California, flashing yellow lights on a school bus are a warning to slow down and prepare to stop.  Flashing red lights and the extended stop arm require all motorists to stop for children entering and exiting the bus and crossing the street.

“Motorists are reminded to pay close attention and exercise caution when they see a school bus stopped to load or unload students,” added Commissioner Farrow.  “Never let a distraction compromise a child’s safety.”