Maine Students Encouraged to Participate in 2020 School Bus Safety Poster Contest

Pictured: 2019 National Association for Pupil Transportation Poster Contest Overall Winner, Bryan Torres-Tavarez, Stars Academy, Paterson, NJ. Source: NAPT Facebook Page.

The national 2020 School Bus Safety Poster Contest is underway and Maine is encouraging students to participate again this year.  The theme is Be Safe – Know the Danger Zone! Please share the contest information below with transportation staff and educators state-wide that are interested in helping students participate in this exciting opportunity to show off their visual arts skills and their knowledge of school bus safety!

National School Bus Safety Poster Contest Rules Please note: It is very important that the posters meet the established rules in regards to size, theme, materials, and placement of student information to be considered at the national level. The last page of the rules provides for a student information sheet to be attached to the back of each poster.

Collect posters throughout the school year and send them to Terry Balduff at the contact information below and/or bring them to the Maine Association for Pupil Transportation (MAPT) Safety Conference in July.

Terry Balduff
terry.balduff@msad60.org
(207) 676-2856
C/O MSAD No. 60
150 Noble Way
North Berwick, Maine 03906

Posters will be displayed at the MAPT Safety Conference in July and voted on by those in attendance at the conference. The winners from each category will be submitted to the NAPT for the National Competition representing Maine in October 2020.

Categories that artists may be entered into (Maine will host all categories except for CAD (Computer Aided Drawing) drawings.

  • Division #1- Grades K-2
  • Division #2- Grades 3-5
  • Division #3- Grades 6-8
  • Division #4- Special Education (Grades K-12)

2020 AWARDS: (State Level)

  • First Place Winners: $75.00 each plus Trophy and Certificate of Appreciation
  • Second Place Winners: $50.00 each plus Trophy and Certificate of Appreciation
  • Third Place Winners: $25.00 each plus Trophy and Certificate of Appreciation

Savings Bonds in lieu of cash may be awarded. 

Regulatory Alert Update:  Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Official Delays Entry Level Driver Training (ELD) Rule

Yesterday, February 4, 2020, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) received approval to announce a two-year delay in the compliance date for all aspects of its 2016 final rule, requiring entry level driver training (ELDT) for all new commercial drivers.  Click here for a copy of the Interim Final Rule that is expected to be posted soon.

The Interim Final Rule announces that, “FMCSA extends the compliance date for the 2016 final rule, “Minimum Training Requirements for Entry-Level commercial Motor Vehicle Operators” (81 FR 88732, December 8, 2016), from February 7, 2020, to February 7, 2022. The two-year extension applies to all requirements established by the ELDT final rule…”

For further information, please contact Maine Department of Education’s Transportation and Facilities Administrator Pat Hinckley at pat.hinckley@maine.gov or (207) 624-6886.

School Bus Purchase Program Applications Open November 1

The Maine Department of Education is accepting applications to receive subsidy for new school buses purchased through the School Bus Purchase Program.  The application period is November 1 through November 25, 2019.

The Department will be able to approve about $9 million in school bus allocations that combines new bus requests and the prior year bus term commitment.  Round one applications will be accepted.  This program provides subsidy to school administrative units (SAUs) in order to offset partial cost of new school buses that are used to transport students to and from home and school and school events.  This program is a resource to help SAUs purchase new school buses, retire end of life school buses, and respond to emergency and special bus needs.  Eligible vehicles must meet Code of Maine Regulations Chapter 85 minimum qualifications, with the exception of Section 3.1.

The School Bus Purchase Program instructions and application information are available on the Maine DOE’s NEO website dashboard.  For more information or technical assistance, please contact Pat Hinckley at 624-6886 or email pat.hinckley@maine.gov .

Maine Schools Join Others Around The Nation to Recognize National School Bus Safety Week October 21-25

National School Bus Safety Week, scheduled October 21-25 this year, is a public education program that promotes school bus safety. 

Nationally, each day about 480,000 school buses travel the nation’s roads transporting about 25,000,000 students to and from schools and school-related activities. This makes school buses the largest mass transportation program in the nation. 

2019 National School Bus Safety Week theme: My School Bus, The Safest Form of Student Transportation!  The theme is derived from the Poster contest the year before.  The 2018 winning poster, depicted above, was drawn by Shivangi Ojha, an 8th Grader at Belton ISD in Temple, Texas. 

In Maine, there are about 3,000 school buses traveling about 30,000,000 miles per year and delivering about 140,000 students. While national ridership of school buses is about fifty percent, about eighty percent of Maine students ride the school bus. Local school transportation teams throughout Maine will educate the public about school bus safety and local transportation safety training during National School Bus Safety Week. 

Transportation is a great equalizer in education, providing students from all economic backgrounds with the opportunity to learn and succeed. Additionally, as pointed out by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration U.S. Department of Transportation, “School buses are by far the safest way for children to get to and from school.” 

School buses are specifically designed and engineered for safety in order to protect occupants against crashes and incidents on the road. Nearly every part of a school bus has higher standards of safety when compared to ordinary cars. The following school bus safety features are not found on any other passenger vehicle: 

  • School bus seats are above the crash line so that the impact of a vehicle colliding with a school bus hits beneath the seated passengers
  • Passenger seating and crash protection are required for school bus seating systems 
  • A steel cage around the fuel tank that provides bus fuel system integrity 
  • Emergency exits are provided by way of doors, windows and roof hatches 
  • Bus body joint strength that specifies the minimum strength of the joints between panels of the bus body and the body structure 
  • Rollover protection that specifies the minimum structural strength of buses in rollover-type crashes 

More information about National School Bus Safety Week can be found here: https://www.napt.org/nsbsw 

For information about school transportation policy, contact Transportation and Facilities Administrator Pat Hinckley at pat.hinckley@maine.gov 

The National School Bus Safety Week public education program is sponsored by the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS), National School Transportation Association (NSTA), National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT), Pupil Transportation Safety Institute (PTSI) and school bus manufacturers and suppliers. 

Maine Prepares to Respond to National Transportation Safety Board Safety Recommendation

Maine was one of 44 states that received a letter with safety recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) following the NTSB June 18, 2019 report, School Bus Run-Off-Road and Fire, Oakland, Iowa December 12, 2017.  The NTSB does not make regulations, but does issue recommendations to organizations. Recommendations regarding driver physicals, physical performance tests, and safety belts on large capacity buses were included in NTSB reports and recommendations.

The Department has engaged in collaboration and conversation with multiple state agencies to discuss possible responsive actions. Further outreach is planned with Maine Association for Pupil Transportation and Maine school administrative unit staff, including a webinar, which is planned for local school bus drivers, transportation directors, business managers, and superintendents on Friday, September 13, 2019 at 10:30 a.m.  An email invitation with webinar details will be sent to Maine superintendents and transportation directors.

The details of the NTSB report, accident investigation, and the resulting safety recommendations can be found here:  https://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/accidentreports/pages/har1901.aspx .

We are committed to partnering with schools and other state agencies to continuously improve and ensure the safety and well-being of all Maine students. Media inquiries may be addressed to Kelli Deveaux by email at Kelli.Deveaux@maine.gov. Transportation inquires may be addressed to Pat Hinckley by email at Pat.Hinckley@maine.gov .