Officials Urge School Bus SafetyBy Daniel Cherry | Published 23 Oct 2012 06:57pm |
State law enforcement and education officials are bringing school bus safety to the forefront of motorists' attention. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how every week thousands of children in Mississippi ride a bus to and from school, and protecting them is high priority.
The most critical time during a child's ride to school is getting on and off the bus. That's when a child is in most danger of being hit by a passing vehicle. Alvin Key lost his son Nathan in 2009 when a vehicle passed a stopped school bus, striking and killing him.
"You get on the bus you go to school, you get off the bus you come home. You shouldn't die going to school going to school or coming home from school. That's something that's 100% preventable."
In recent years, the Mississippi Legislature passed several laws that toughen penalties for passing a school bus with a flashing sign. Dr. Ben Burnett, Chairman of the School Bus Safety Task Force says the goal is to protect children's lives.
"We just feel like with the task force's efforts and the Governor's support, that if everybody is made aware of this of how critically important it really is, we can eliminate that in our state. We don't need to worry about that as a part of our education system."
The Governor and other state officials announced, this week as School Bus Safety Week, but Mississippi Department of Public Safety Commissioner, Albert Santa Cruz, says his troopers are cracking down on motorists who pass school busses every day.
"School bus safety week is great, and we'll probably have more people out, but our goal is every day of the week, every week of the year. Because the future of Mississippi is riding those busses right there, and our goal is to protect those kids. And we're going to do everything the Department of Public Safety and the Highway Patrol can do to do that."
Mississippi's 54 hundred school busses transport nearly a half million students to and from school each year.
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