Drivers reminded of ‘Rules of Road’ to keep children safe at bus stops

There have been several accidents at school bus stops in the national news lately, a good reminder for us in Delaware to make sure drivers are aware of the rules of the road. School buses are one of the safest forms of transportation on the road, and Delaware drivers can help ensure the safety of our students by paying special attention to school buses. Most of the children who lose their lives in bus-related crashes are pedestrians, many hit by motorists illegally passing stopped buses.  In the spring, Delaware public school bus drivers conducted their eighth annual survey of vehicles illegally passing their buses while they were loading/unloading students with their overhead red lights flashing and lighted STOP arms extended. The survey, conducted on May 4, 2018, included 1,108 bus drivers who reported 572 illegal passes, 8 of which were by the right side of the bus. Almost 300 of the illegal passes (296) were drivers approaching from the rear of the bus. More than half of the illegal passes (294) occurred on the morning bus runs.

The Delaware Department of Education – in partnership with the Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security Highway Safety Office, Delaware Department of Transportation and Delaware State Police – reminds vehicle operators of the state’s “Rules of the Road” to keep our children safe when they are getting on or off a school bus: – Bus drivers will turn on the overhead amber flashing lights to give motorists advance notice that they are preparing to stop to pick up or discharge students. – Once stopped, the bus drivers activate the overhead red flashing lights and extend their bus STOP arms. – When a bus is stopped on a two-lane road with the overhead red flashing lights illuminated and STOP arm out, the driver of any vehicle approaching the school bus from the front or the rear of the bus shall stop and remain stopped until the red lights are no longer flashing and the STOP arm is retracted. – On a roadway with four or more lanes, the driver approaching the bus from the front shall not stop. – Drivers should stop far enough from the bus to allow students to safely enter and exit the bus. – Be alert. Children can be unpredictable.


Secretary Bunting encourages families, children to ‘Love the Bus’

Secretary of Education honors school bus drivers and aides

Families, students and educators are celebrating the bus drivers and bus aides in Delaware who take more than 121,000 students safely to schools each day as part of the 11th annual national Love the Bus program this month.

Governor John Carney issued a proclamation recognizing school bus drivers and aides for their contributions to safe school transportation. Additionally, Secretary of Education Susan Bunting and Superintendent Dan Shelton greeted and thanked school bus drivers and aides after they dropped off students at William Henry Middle School in the Capital School District this morning.

The Love the Bus program, founded in 2007 and coordinated by the American School Bus Council (ASBC), is celebrated on Valentine’s Day, and throughout February, in school communities across the country as a way to raise awareness and appreciation for the hundreds of thousands of school bus drivers who safely transport more than 25 million school children to and from school each day. It is also an opportunity for families and children to learn more about the safety and environmental benefits of school bus transportation. Delawareans are encouraged to share their love online with the hashtag #DElovesthebus.

“The bus drivers and aides who safely transport Delaware’s students to school and back each day have challenging jobs,” Bunting said. “Love the Bus is a great opportunity to thank those who care for our children every day.”

To help celebrate Love the Bus, families, teachers and children are encouraged to visit the program’s Web site, http://www.americanschoolbuscouncil.org to share stories about their favorite bus drivers. Educators also may log on to the site to download an educator’s toolkit, which provides details on incorporating Love The Bus into their lesson plans and offers best practices for communicating about pupil transportation.

Bus drivers receive specialized classroom and behind-the-wheel training in driving a school bus, student loading/unloading procedures, student evacuation, student behavior and security management. All school bus drivers also are required to participate in pre-employment, random and post-accident drug and alcohol testing, frequent driving record checks, and pass periodic medical exams to ensure they are physically qualified. Bus aides receive specialized training to care for those students with special needs.

In addition to the qualified drivers and aides, school buses are, by far, the safest vehicles on the road. Students are about 70 times more likely to get to school safely if they take the school bus versus traveling by car, according to American School Bus Council statistics.

Find photos from today’s event here.

 

Media contact: Alison May, alison.may@doe.k12.de.us, 302-735-4006


DART to Make Improvements Based on Rider Feedback from Recent Community Conversations

WILMINGTON, Del. – After reviewing customer feedback from three Community Conversations in Wilmington and Newark last week, DART will make a series of improvements. The recent Community Conversations offered DART riders, and the general public, the opportunity to provide feedback and share their experiences since DART’s service changes in mid-December.

“The Community Conversations were intended to present a comfortable forum for our riders to talk one-on-one with DART employees. Staff was able to get meaningful feedback from our customers, and really listen to their specific concerns,” said Delaware Transit CEO, John Sisson. “There were definitely common themes, including the need for more shelters and benches, and restoring a stop at Rodney Square for some routes that pass right by on the way out of town. We’re pleased to be able to address some of the issues sooner, rather than waiting until the May service change.”

The improvements include adding seating at new bus shelters on French St. at 8th St., as well as 10th St. at Tatnall St. In addition, shelters/canopies are being ordered for installation along King Street at 10th St. alongside the library, at 9th and 6th Streets. Beginning this Sunday, February 11, the Rodney Square stop on 10th St. will be restored for service for Routes 2, 6 and 28.

Sisson points out that after restoring service on Routes 2, 6 and 28 next week, there will still be 15 routes serving stops at the square; however, the other route changes will remain in effect and will not be restored to Rodney Square.

“As I have stated before, the success of our state depends in large part on the success of Wilmington,” said Governor Carney. “Rodney Square, which was never intended to serve as a transit hub, can and should be the crown jewel of Wilmington. We must continue the work to revitalize the Square as a historic public park. We’re continuing to make improvements to our transit system that balance the needs of riders and those who use Rodney Square.”

In addition to concerns, several riders offered support to some of the recent changes, including the new route combinations. In addition to relieving congestion on the streets surrounding Rodney Square, by combining some routes, DART is able to offer a one-seat ride, eliminating the need to transfer for those traveling through Wilmington.

Bus Route 4, which was combined with Route 24 and operates between Edgemoor through downtown Wilmington to Prices Corner, has experienced on-time performance issues. Based on actual bus running times, it’s apparent that more time was built into the schedule than what is needed. A revised schedule is being developed with a tentative release date of March 4.

Senator Robert Marshall said, “Bus riders from Wilmington and other places are returning to Rodney Square and new bus shelters and canopies will protect riders from inclement weather. This is a positive first step. John Sisson, DTC CEO, listened to riders and advocates at public meetings and acted in the best interest of DART riders. I view this as a friendly change affirmed by Governor Carney and Cabinet Secretary Cohan with more rider-friendly improvements to our public transit system in the future.”

DART heard concerns regarding other routes, including Routes 13 and 18, that are being reviewed for DART’s May service change. Service proposals will be presented at upcoming Public Hearing Workshops:

Tuesday, March 6, 2018 – 11 AM to 1 PM and 4 PM to 6 PM
Wilmington Public Library, The Commons
10 East 10th Street, Wilmington 19801

Wednesday, March 7, 2018 – 1 PM to 3 PM
Dover Public Library (Multi-Purpose Room A)
35 Loockerman Plaza, Dover, DE 19901

Thursday, March 8, 2018 – 3 PM to 5 PM
Milford Public Library (Lions Club Room A)
11 SE Front Street, Milford, DE 19963

The Delaware Transit Corporation, a subsidiary of the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT), operates DART First State. Real-Time Transit Information is available on the free DelDOT App (iOS and Android), as well as on DART’s Trip Planner at www.DartFirstState.com.


Secretary Bunting to ‘Love the Bus’

Secretary of Education to honor school bus drivers and aides

Secretary of Education Susan Bunting, joined by Capital School District Superintendent Dan Shelton, will thank bus drivers and bus aides at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 13 at William Henry Middle School as part of the state’s celebration of the 11th annual national Love the Bus program this month.

Governor John Carney issued a proclamation recognizing school bus drivers and aides for their contributions to safe school transportation.

The Love the Bus program, founded in 2007 and coordinated by the American School Bus Council (ASBC), is celebrated on Valentine’s Day, and throughout February, in school communities across the country as a way to raise awareness and appreciation for the hundreds of thousands of school bus drivers who safely transport more than 25 million school children to and from school each day. It is also an opportunity for families and children to learn more about the safety and environmental benefits of school bus transportation.

Delawareans are encouraged to share their love online with the hashtag #DElovesthebus.

William Henry Middle School is located at 65 Carver Road in Dover.

 

Media Contact: Alison May, alison.may@doe.k12.de.us, 302-735-4006