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News

For Immediate Release
October 16, 2006

Illinois observes National Bus Safety Week, Oct. 15-21
This Year’s Theme Highlights Pedestrian Safety for Riders Nationwide

SPRINGFIELD – As part of National Bus Safety Week, Oct. 15-21, Illinois is joining school districts statewide and school bus industry officials nationwide in stressing the importance of school bus safety and education.

“Although school buses are the safest way for students to get to and from school, we always want to minimize any risk—no matter how small—of our students getting injured,” said State Superintendent of Schools Randy Dunn. “By observing School Bus Safety Week throughout Illinois, we have the opportunity to call attention to the fact that our students are at the most risk especially when they are getting on or off the school bus.”

Celebrated the third week of October each year, School Bus Safety Week promotes awareness and education on the local and state level through poster and speech contests, school bus safety community toolkits and events. School districts throughout Illinois will be hosting activities for parents, children and teachers to highlight the importance of school bus safety both on and off the school bus.

The theme for School Bus Safety Week 2006 – I See the Driver – The Driver Sees Me – emphasizes the importance and benefits of school bus driver training and encourages students across the country to obey school bus safety rules while waiting at the bus stop and getting on and off the school bus each day.

In Illinois, more than 1.1 million students ride the school bus daily. Across the nation, 25 million children ride the school bus each day. Nationwide, an average of 33 school-age children die in school-bus-related traffic crashes each year. Most of the children killed are pedestrians, five to seven years old.

School Bus Safety Week was established in 1966 by the National Association of Pupil Transportation, National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services National School Transportation Association and supported by the NHTSA. The goal is to educate students, parents and the motoring public about the safety of our nation’s children who are transported daily on yellow school buses. This week also recognizes the hard work and dedication of school professionals, especially the school bus drivers who ensure a safe journey for our children each and every day.

The American School Bus Council offers the following tips for school bus riders:

  • Be alert to traffic. Check both ways for cars before stepping off the bus.
  • Make eye contact with the bus driver, and wait for the bus driver’s signal before crossing the street.
  • Walk in front of the bus; never walk behind the bus to cross the street.
  • While waiting for the bus, stay in a safe place away from the street.
  • Before leaving the sidewalk, look for the flashing lights.
  • Never go under the bus to retrieve something you’ve dropped.

For more information about bus safety and School Bus Safety Week, visit ISBE’s school bus safety section online at http://www.isbe.net/funding/html/bus_safety.htm; or the National Association of Pupil Transportation’s web site at www.napt.org.

Illinois State Board of Education
100 North First Street
Springfield, IL 62777