NHTSA Chief Educates Students at ‘Love the Bus’

Photo By: Jim Morrison
NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind asks Arlington, Virginia elementary schools about their views on school bus safety during the national "Love the Bus" event on Feb. 10.

A week after new NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said the federal government will re-examine the issue of seat belts on school buses, he was in Arlington, Virginia to speak with elementary students on school bus safety.

Rosekind was the featured dignitary at the annual “Love the Bus” national event produced by the American School Bus Council. It is designed to raise awareness and appreciation of the hundreds of thousands of school bus drivers to safely transport students to and from school each day.

Markus Vidnieks, coordinator for ASBC, told STN that Rosekind walked among the kindergarten through fifth grade students at Tuckahoe Elementary and asked them their favorite things about riding the school bus and also quizzed them on school bus safety.

ASBC is a coalition of the National Association for Pupil Transportation, the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services and the National School Transportation Association as well as school bus manufacturers Blue Bird, IC Bus and Thomas Built Buses.

NSTA reported that Christopher Grundler, EPA’s director of the Office of Transportation and Air Quality, spoke on the environmental benefits of today’s clean diesel school buses with 90 percent clean emissions and how they can reduce traffic congestion and, thus, pollution around school campuses.

Meanwhile, Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy presented two county school bus drivers with awards for their exemplary service. Tuckahoe pre-K students also sang a “spirited rendition” of “Wheels on the Bus.

“Love the Bus” events are being held nationwide all month in celebration of school bus drivers and the benefits of school bus driving. For example, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction designated February as “Love the Bus” month, and school bus dealer Transportation South sponsored an Alabama “Love the Bus” event on Tuesday. The EPA’s West Coast Collaborative recognized the Reynolds and Springfield school districts in Oregon for each receiving $100,000 to replace 10 older diesel school buses as part of an EPA DERA rebate award announced last month.

On Wednesday, EPA Region 6 recognized the three Texas school districts will split $240,000 from the same program to replace older diesel school buses with clean diesel power. The Aldine Independent, Lone Star Public School and Spring Branch Independent school districts will receive rebates through EPA’s Diesel Emissions Reduction Act to replace 12 of their existing diesel school buses. Since 2008, the DERA program has funded over 600 clean diesel projects across the country. These projects have reduced emissions for more than 60,000 engines.