PRESS RELEASE - October 6, 2003
New Mexico Public Education Department
300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2786

Ruth Williams
Public Outreach Director
(505) 476-0393

Governor Richardson Proclaims October 19-25 "School Bus Safety Week" in New Mexico

(Santa Fe, NM)--Governor Bill Richardson has proclaimed the week of October 19-25, 2003 as "School Bus Safety Week" in New Mexico. In his proclamation, Governor Richardson urges all citizens to exercise courtesy and caution concerning school buses so that children have the safest possible system of transportation. He also urges citizens to recognize the skills and dedication of the thousands of people who make the system possible.

New Mexico State Department of Education (SDE) Transportation Director Gilbert Perea said, “New Mexico school buses have one of the best safety records nationwide. We should be proud of our safety record. It is a direct reflection of the dedication of our school bus drivers and transportation providers.”

In 2002-2003, a little more than half of students (168,878 students) enrolled in public education in New Mexico were bused to school daily on more than 2,300 buses, which traveled in excess of 32 million miles. New Mexico’s school bus drivers must complete extensive annual training programs and are required to conduct daily pre-trip inspections of their school bus.

As part of School Bus Safety Week, Perea said New Mexicans should make a commitment to exercise additional caution when they encounter school buses, particularly when buses’ warning lights are in the flashing mode. “School buses are the safest form of vehicular transportation in the country. With increased awareness on the part of motorists, we can keep it that way,” he said.