Bus safety programs on tap for PCS

Published 10:28 pm Monday, November 29, 2010

School bus safety will be at the forefront this week when the Pike County School System sponsors a School Bus Safety Program for students, teachers and parents.

Three programs will be presented at each elementary school beginning Wednesday at Pike County Elementary School, then at Banks Middle School on Thursday and Goshen Elementary School on Friday.

Times will be 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. at all schools. Each program will last about an hour.

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Mike Johnson, chief of transportation for Pike County Schools, said there is a great need for school bus safety programs because more than 50 percent of Alabama’s students are transported to school on school buses.

“In a 10-year period, from 1989 until 1999, an average of 10 passengers was killed each year in school bus crashes,” Johnson said. “During that time, three times as many pedestrians were killed each year getting on or off school buses. They were either struck by the bus or another vehicle.”

Johnson said that more than half of the school bus related fatalities were children between the ages of five and seven.

“So, it make sense to start early to educate children about how to ride a bus safely,” he said.

The School Bus Safety Program will be presented by Bryan Nash, who has 30 years of experience in the public transportation field. He worked as a safety inspector for the State of Alabama and was also the director of transportation for the Tuscaloosa County School System.

Joining Nash will be his sidekick, Buster the Talking School Bus.

“Children love Buster and he teaches them that school bus safety starts at home,” Johnson said. “He teaches children about the danger zone and safety at the bus stop, among other things.

“And, Buster talks to adults about how they can help their children be safer bus riders and how to utilize available learning tools to reinforce the lessons taught by Buster.”

Johnson said all programs are open to the public and he hopes that parents will take this opportunity to learn more about school bus safety and what they can to do keep their children safe when riding the bus.