[CHP Press Release]– Thousands of children in California travel daily by school bus. With their safety in mind, the California Highway Patrol joins with schools throughout the country in recognition of National School Bus Safety Week, Oct. 22-26. The week is designed to promote school bus safety; this year’s theme is: “I see the driver – the driver sees me.”

“School bus drivers carry the most precious cargo,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. “The safety of our children lies in the hands of not only the bus driver who is transporting them, but every single motorist on the road.”

According to statistics from the CHP’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System for 2010, the most recent year in which finalized figures are available, eight people were killed in school bus-involved collisions. However, none were school pupils.

Studies prove that the most dangerous part of the school bus ride for children is when they get on and off the bus. To help keep students safe, motorists are encouraged to pay close attention to school buses on local roads and be aware of their flashing lights. In California, flashing yellow lights on a school bus are a warning to slow down and prepare to stop, while flashing red lights require all motorists to stop.

“Although drivers of all vehicles are required to stop for a school bus when it is stopped to load or unload passengers, children should not rely on them to do so,” added Commissioner Farrow. “Children should always wait on the sidewalk, and when it is time to cross the street they should wait for the bus driver to guide them safely across the road.”

The CHP plays an active role in the safe transportation of the state’s students by inspecting and certifying more than 23,500 buses in California. National School Bus Safety Week is observed annually the third week in October.

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