Schools recognize bus safety

Published 8:41 pm Tuesday, October 20, 2015

By Allison T. Williams


Be sure to thank your child’s school bus driver this week.

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National School Bus Safety Week is Oct. 19-23, and Suffolk Public Schools is using the opportunity to internally recognize the division’s 176 bus drivers and share with them additional bus safety information, said Keba Baldwin, director of transportation since Aug. 30.

Next year, Baldwin hopes to expand National School Bus Safety Week into the community, sharing educational information and getting feedback from parents, students, teachers and motorists.

“We are starting small this year,” Baldwin said. “We try to stress that we view school buses as an extension of the classroom … and that buses are by far the safest way for students to get to and from school.”

Students are about 50 times more likely to arrive at school alive than if they drove or rode with friends, according to statistics from the National Association for Pupil Transportation. Also, buses are designed to have more durability than regular passenger cars and trucks and come equipped with safety features: flashing red lights, stop sign arms, reinforced sides and cross-view mirrors.

Suffolk’s drivers receive regular training, Baldwin said.

“This week is more about awareness,” he said. “We remind them to constantly scan their peripheral area for potential safety hazards and to not take any chances during inclement weather.”

Only one Suffolk school bus has been involved in a major accident this year, and no one was injured in that crash, he added.

Suffolk’s team of bus drivers is approximately 90 percent staffed, Baldwin said.

“We are always looking for drivers,” Baldwin said. Prospective drivers must be eligible to get their commercial driver’s license in Virginia and be available during school transportation hours.