MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The countdown is on to the first day of school and this week on Today in Alabama we've been getting you ready to send your kids back to class.
Wednesday, the conversation focused on buses, safety on and off the bus, and what other drivers need to know. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says the school bus is the safest vehicle on the road and the safest way to get children to and from school.
Montgomery Public Schools operates more than 240 buses, transporting more than half of the system's 29,000 students. MPS Superintendent Dr. Ann Roy Moore gave the bus fleet its formal safety inspection Wednesday, but safety is a year-round priority for the MPS Transportation Department.
"There is a monthly inspection that's done on all of our buses," said Eric Thornton, Director of MPS Transportation Department. "This week and last week, the state inspectors were here. They come in to inspect our buses and give us our 2018-2019 stickers for the year. They check various things, all the way from cracked windows that we have to fix, lights that are not working, stop arms, shocks, everything."
MPS works to make a smooth transition from your home to the school bus to school, by providing a Bus Hotline to answer any parent's questions about buses. You can call (334) 223-6900 or send an email.
"We want all of our parents to understand, it is our ultimate goal objective, the safety of your children, to get there safely, " Thornton stressed.
Thornton says there are some important discussions parents need to have with their children to make sure everyone stays safe.
"We want to make sure that kids understand to wait until the bus comes to a complete stop, that we stay a great distance away from the bus before we load," warned Thornton. "We're expecting the parents to send us students that are well behaved."
Every driver on the road needs to know what to do when a bus is at a designated bus stop.
"Do not run that stop sign on that bus," Thornton said. He reminded that MPS has cameras on the inside and outside of all buses, so don't be in too big of a hurry to move past a bus. "We want to give the bus driver time for those kids to be seated properly before we pull the bus off."
"Also bear in mind all the speed zones for the schools for the motorists, because we have kids not only on buses, but they could be walking as well," added Thornton
Montgomery Public Schools start the new year on Monday, as well as Autauga County Schools. Elmore County Schools start on Tuesday.