MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. - National School Bus Safety Week will be celebrated this week and there will be activities within the Manatee County School District to honor those who work hard to transport this community’s children to and from school.
Each school day over 16,000 students in Manatee County ride district school buses. During School Bus Safety Week, the district’s Transportation Department will collaborate with the Florida Highway Patrol and the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office to raise awareness and reinforce laws concerning illegal passing of a school bus. The Highway Patrol and Sheriff’s Deputies will follow buses and increase patrols of areas where illegal passing of buses is prevalent.
This year’s theme for National School Bus Safety Week is “Stay Back from the Yellow and Black.” Planned activities include: Special safety banners and safety reminders placed at the Matzke Complex, Lincoln Middle and Freedom Elementary; School Bus operators will wear yellow and black on Thursday; donuts and coffee will be provided for bus drivers on Friday to show appreciation for their continuous efforts to provide safe transportation for students.
The Manatee District fleet has 166 buses that travel over 3.5 million miles a year; averaging approximately 20,000 miles each day. Sheryl Riker, the Manatee District’s Director of Transportation said safety regarding school buses cannot be overemphasized.
“Transporting students in Manatee County is large undertaking and our main concern is safety,” Riker said. “One of the most frequent complaints of school bus drivers is that motorists do not obey the school bus law. Each time a motorist violates the school bus stop law, he or she creates a real hazard for the students who are boarding or leaving the bus.”