For Further Information, Contact:
William R. Steinhaus, County Executive
2011 School Bus Driver of the Year Award
Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus is pleased to announce Mr. Charles Whitted of the Wappingers Central School District has been named as the winner of the 10th annual School Bus Driver of the Year Award in recognition of his exemplary service and safety record. The annual award is part of the Dutchess County Traffic Safety Board’s efforts to promote school bus safety. The award is given in conjunction with the launch of the annual Operation Safe Stop Project.
This year, Operation Safe Stop Education Enforcement Day will be Wednesday, March 30th, 2011. Local law enforcement agencies across the state will be shadowing school buses to identify and ticket drivers who do not obey the flashing red lights on a stopped school bus.
“Our children’s safety is our utmost priority. Local police patrols will be out on the roadways to be a visual reminder of the importance of stopping when the red lights are flashing on a school bus,” said County Executive Steinhaus.
New York State Vehicle and Traffic law requires drivers to stop from either direction, even on a divided highway any time a school bus’s red lights are flashing. Passing a school bus with red lights is not only dangerous, but it is illegal and punishable with fines ranging from $250 to $1,000. Five points may be assessed to one’s driver’s license, and penalties can also include possible imprisonment (up to 30 days for first offense and 180 days for a third or subsequent conviction).
Mr. Charles Whitted was presented with a commemorative plaque and honored as the School Bus Driver of the Year at the Operation Safe Stop kickoff press conference at the Wappingers Central School District Office on Myers Corners Road this morning. Mr. Whitted has been employed in the Wappingers Central School District for twenty one years. According to Dutchess County Traffic Safety Board Administrator William Johnson, “Mr. Whitted is a model bus driver who always keeps his eye on the safety of his students. In more than twenty one years driving buses loaded with students, he has had NO accidents; an exceptional achievement. Mr. Whitted is respected by supervisory staff, his peers and the many students and parents he has touched over the years.”
County Executive Steinhaus said, “Every day, parents across our community put their children on school buses and trust the bus driver to get their children to school and back home safely. Bus drivers bear a tremendous responsibility and this award is a way for our community to say thank you for bus drivers’ commitment to our children’s safety. We congratulate Mr. Whitted on his impressive safety record and thank him for his dedication to children.”
The Dutchess County Traffic Safety Board’s School Bus Driver of the Year award seeks to promote school bus safety through education and enforcement efforts. The annual award was initiated to increase public awareness regarding school bus safety issues and to recognize school bus drivers who to get children to and from school safely on a daily basis.
School bus drivers are an integral part of the safe transportation of school children. Crashes and related injuries are prevented by the experience, skill, and daily performance of these highly trained professionals.
“The annual School Bus Driver of the Year award is a great opportunity to remind motorists that our children’s safety is our utmost priority, so make sure you stop when you see the red flashing lights of a school bus,” said County Executive Steinhaus. “It is illegal, and dangerous, to pass a stopped school bus when the large red lights are flashing.”
The School Bus Driver of the Year Award is a collaborative partnership with the New York State Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee and the Mid Hudson Transportation Supervisor’s Association.
The Dutchess County Traffic Safety Board is a coalition of law enforcement, education, health and service agencies and individuals appointed by the County Executive who are committed to ensuring our streets, sidewalks, and residents remain safe.
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