According to a recently published Tennessee.gov press release, the Tennessee Department of Safety and the Tennessee Highway Patrol are both participating in National School Bus Safety Week that runs from October 22nd to the 26th.
This year’s theme is “Be Aware! Cross with Care.” The theme reminds students to cross streets carefully when exiting or entering on to a school bus. Children need to always look both ways before crossing a street and to always cross in front of a school bus, never behind where drivers can not see them.
Tennessee Commissioner David Mitchell said,” School buses safely transport nearly 25-million kids to and from school everyday, more than 500-thousand right here in Tennessee. That’s 500-thousand precious reasons motorists need to be alert and stop for stopped school buses.”
Even local Tennessee law enforcement agencies are working to crack down on motorists who break laws in school zones. Just since August 1st of this year, troopers have written a total of 1,197 citations to drivers. Over 300 of those were given to drivers who were simply speeding in school zones. Keep in mind, the set school speed limits are 15 or 20 mph at the moment.
Just last year alone, Tennessee troopers issued out close to 6,500 citations from drivers breaking laws in school zones across the state. Citations ranged from speeding, to blowing stop signs, and more.
“Our school bus drivers are doing a great job keeping children safe, but they need the help of other motorists,” said Colonel Mike Walker. “Our goal is to make sure children get to school and back home safely. That’s why Troopers enforce traffic laws, train school bus drivers and inspect buses.”
The Department of Safety trained over 11,000 school bus drivers last year alone. They also worked hard to inspect nearly 10,000 school buses. Bus inspections include looking at the safety of seats, seat belts, and emergency exits on the bus.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol will be working hard this week to monitor school zones for safety of students and other pedestrians alike.
In some counties in the state, troopers will ride buses looking for drivers who ignore school buses’ flashing red lights and stop signs. This alone is a major violation of the law since it threatens the safety of children getting on or off the bus. There have been cases where children have been seriously hurt or even killed because drivers failed to follow the laws of driving near school buses.
Colonel Walker added, “Drivers need to know that a school zone isn’t just the 15-mile-per-hour area around a school. It’s anywhere children travel. This effort is very important to us because many of us are parents and grandparents.”
Tennessee mother of two, Emma Wakenson, said, “My children use the school bus system every day to and from school. Some parents wouldn’t be able to get their children to school any other way. It’s good to know as a parent that the state is working hard to keep our kids safe.”
For more information about the Tennessee Department of Safety and National School Bus Safety Week, visit www.tennessee.gov/safety. Here you can find additional information on law enforcement, safety, and different services available to families.
The Department of Safety helps to keep nearly 15,000 miles of state and federal highways safe for all users.
Tennessee.gov. “THP Participates in National School Bus Safety Week.” http://info.tnanytime.org/tngov/?p=1194