CAMDEN — Camden Rockport Schools and the Five Town Community School District will participate in National Bus Safety Week October 18 through 22, an active public education program designed to promote school bus safety.

“We want parents, students, teachers, drivers, and all motorists to be aware of school bus safety,” said Maria Libby, Superintendent of Camden Rockport Schools and Five Town CSD.

“Our drivers, students and staff will participate in various drills and trainings throughout the week to keep school bus safety in the forefront.”

Libby also stressed that school bus safety depends on all motorists following traffic laws.

“Traffic from both directions must stop for a bus with flashing red lights and an extended stop sign. Our drivers have reported cars passing them while children are loading or unloading, a terrifying prospect.”

In Maine, there are about 3,000 school buses traveling about 30,000 miles per year and delivering about 140,000 students, about 80 percent of Maine students. Bus Safety Week, the third week of October, is a time to remind everyone about school bus safety, on and off the bus.

It is estimated that over 10 million drivers illegally and dangerously pass stopped school buses every year. Most serious injuries occur when students are in the ‘danger zone,’ a 10-foot area around all sides of the bus.

The National Association for Pupil Transportation has shared tips on how to keep children safe at bus stops.

These tips for families and children include: encouraging children to wear bright, contrasting colors so they will be more easily seen by drivers and leaving home on time so they can arrive at the bus stop at least five minutes early; walking young children to the bus stop or encouraging them to walk in groups; and teaching children how to safely cross a street and driveways.

Tips for safely waiting at the bus stop and getting on an off the bus include having children wait for the bus where they can be seen by the driver, and telling the driver if they drop something while entering or leaving the bus, then following the driver’s directions.

This week, students are reviewing and practicing school bus safety, including how to safely wait, load, ride, and unload the bus. They are also practicing emergency evacuations.

Parents have also been provided information on school bus safety. “Our drivers appreciate the support of parents in reminding students of the importance of safety,” Libby said.

For more information contact Maria Libby at 236-3358 or maria.libby@fivetowns.net

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