SUPPORTING THE GOALS AND IDEALS OF SCHOOL BUS SAFETY WEEK
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Mr. DUNCAN. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Texas for yielding me this time and for managing this resolution and for his comments, as well as those of our distinguished colleague from Missouri.
Mr. Speaker, last October, I introduced House Resolution 498, which supports the goals and ideals promoted by School Bus Safety Week. This bill certainly has bipartisan support with 62 cosponsors. Also, all three national school bus associations are in support of this resolution: the National Association of Pupil Transportation, the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation, and the National School Transportation Association.
America's 480,000 school buses comprise the largest mass transportation fleet in the country, 2 1/2 times the size of all other forms of mass transportation, transit, intercity buses, commercial airlines, and rail combined.
During the school year, school buses make more than 50 million passenger trips daily. School Bus Safety Week, which is celebrated in more than 40 States and sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, was created to remind all students of the best ways to get on and off the bus and of other ways to enhance the safety of our Nation's children.
According to the National Academy of Sciences, an average of 820 students are killed annually during school transportation hours, but less than 2 percent of them are school bus passengers. Most of those killed are children aged 5 to 7, and most often those children are killed in the area immediately surrounding the bus, either by a passing vehicle or occasionally by the bus itself.
While school bus transportation is eight times safer than traveling in a passenger vehicle and is the safest form of ground transportation available, unfortunately, accidents still happen. An average of seven school-age passengers are killed in school bus crashes each year, and an average of 19 children are killed getting on and off the bus each year.
Many of our communities honor School Bus Safety Week through local and State poster and speech contests, lessons utilized in School Bus Safety Community Awareness kits and other activities built around themes that raise awareness of school bus safety issues.
It is my hope that our children will be safer than ever before, and that our children will safely get on and off and travel on these school buses each day, and that drivers in our communities will be mindful of the laws designed to protect our Nation's school bus passengers.
This is a business dominated by individuals and very small businesses. Most school bus drivers are stay-at-home moms, retired people or others who need some part-time income. They do a really outstanding job and provide a great community service in helping keep our school children safe, and H. Res. 498 will help promote and improve that safety even further.
Madam Speaker, I urge passage of this resolution.
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