School bus drivers across New York will be honored this fall after the state senate passed a resolution last month for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to proclaim Oct. 21, 2011, as School Bus Driver Appreciation Day.
The day coincides with the conclusion of this year’s National School Bus Safety Week.
The bill was introduced by Sen. William Larkin at the request of Maureen Moore, a school bus driver for West Point Tours, a private bus operator in the Hudson Valley, and the author of “Gerry the Groundhog Learns About School Bus Safety,” which has been used so far in 16 states and in Canada. Twenty-two other legislators also signed on to Senate Bill No. 1998.
The resolution was adopted on May 24 and recognizes that more than 2 million students statewide are transported via yellow school bus each day by drivers with the “tremendous responsibility” of maneuvering through traffic, providing leadership on the bus and making “life-saving” decisions in the event of an emergency. The senate also recognized that school bus drivers can play an important role in aiding the fight against terrorism.
“They are able to observe any suspicious activity or people along their bus route and communicate that information to the proper authorities,” the proclamation reads.
Senate members are expected to pause in their deliberations on Oct. 21 to “pay tribute to these dedicated professionals.”
Moore was also instrumental in getting similar school bus driver resolutions passed in New York dating back to 2005. Resolutions were also passed in subsequent years until last year when no bill was introduced.
On June 2, another bill co-sponsored by Larkin, S5171B, passed the Senate and was in the transportation committee at this writing. The legislation would require all other bus drivers to submit to a criminal background check upon hire, similar to current state law already in effect for school bus drivers.