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First Student Urges Parents to Talk to Their Children About School Bus Safety

CINCINNATI, Aug. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- School is back in session and yellow school buses are out in full force. First Student, Inc., the nation's leader in student transportation, would like to remind parents to take a moment to talk to their children about school bus safety.


Today's school buses are the safest, most technologically advanced they have ever been. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, riding a bus is the safest way for children to get to and from school. It's safer than walking or riding a bike and is even 13 times safer than riding in the family car.

But parents still need to discuss important safety rules with their children to make the ride to school on a school bus the safest it can be.

"The most important school bus safety rule parents should share with their children is to make sure the driver can see you at all times," says Gary Catapano, senior vice president of safety for First Student, the nation's largest provider of school transportation. "That means staying ten giant steps away from the outside of the bus, and always sitting in your seat when inside the bus."

Parents, please share these other important school bus safety tips with your children:
-- Don't ever run after the bus or if you drop something near the bus,

don't pick it up. Instead, ask the driver for help.

-- If you have to cross in front of the bus, wait until the driver lets

you know it's OK.

-- If you have to cross the street after getting off the bus, always look

both ways and keep an eye out for other vehicles on the road.

-- Wait for the bus to stop completely before you approach it to get on

or before you stand up to get off.

-- Talk or laugh quietly with friends, but do not scream or dangle

anything out of the window, it distracts the driver.

"Safety is a core value at First Student," says Catapano. "Our entire focus as a company is to take children to and from school safely each day. That's why we employ highly-trained drivers and maintain school bus fleets that utilize the latest technologies and safety features."
-- Global positioning systems (GPS) are being installed on First Student

buses to provide dispatchers with the exact location and speed of a

school bus at any time. They also provide a record of each bus' route

and all of its stops, starts and passes.

-- First Student was the first to install an electronic reminder system

that aids drivers in checking for sleeping children at the end of each


-- All First Student buses are equipped with safety crossing gates on the

front of all buses to keep children from crossing directly in front of

the bus so drivers can better see them.

-- Flashing lights and extended stop arms warn motorists that children

are boarding or unloading a bus.

-- Every First Student bus is designed with well-anchored seats with high

backs that are heavily padded to absorb impact and create a protective


-- Smaller buses for preschool children and special needs students

utilize car seats or specialized restraint systems and have a monitor

on board at all times.

In addition, First Student buses operate under many stringent safety protocols:
-- Certified mechanics perform preventive maintenance inspections to

ensure buses are running at peak performance.

-- Drivers conduct vehicle safety checks before each route.

-- Drivers adhere to a strict no-idling policy to reduce school bus


First Student drivers must meet extensive requirements:

-- Each driver must pass a comprehensive background check, substance

screen and full DOT physical exam.

-- Drivers must complete more than 50 hours of classroom and

behind-the-wheel training.

-- Monthly safety and training meetings throughout the year reinforce

operational and safety policies and procedures.

-- And, First Student regularly conducts driving history checks and

random substance screens.

"As the leader in student transportation, our singular goal is to safely transport the 4 million children entrusted to us on our buses across North America to and from school." says Catapano. "Often, school bus transportation may be a child's only means of getting to school, and therefore potentially their only access to education. It's a tremendous responsibility that we take very seriously."

First Student, Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of FirstGroup America, is the largest provider of school bus transportation in North America. First Student safely transports more than 3 million students with a fleet of 49,000 yellow school buses in the U.S. In Canada, First Student and operates 11,300 buses and transports 700,000 children to and from school each day. First Student is dedicated to providing the safest and most efficient student transportation service in North America. For more information, please visit

SOURCE First Student, Inc.
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