January 22, 2019 – Nevada County Superintendent of Schools Safety and School Climate Coordinator, Chris Espedal works collaboratively with local first responders in law enforcement, fire services and other government agencies to improve and/or enhance school safety. Recent conversations have focused on the importance of school bus safety. Please see the article below written as a team effort by California Highway Patrol – Lieutenant George Steffenson, Commander, Grass Valley Area and CHP Officer Jason Bice.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, students are approximately 70 times more likely to get to school safely by bus than by car.  In California, approximately 32,000 school bus drivers transport more than one million students annually; traveling an estimated 253 million miles.

California’s laws regarding school bus safety, and operators, are some of the strictest in the nation and are set in place to protect students against unnecessary tragedies.  Ensuring competent, caring, and educated school bus operators is a vital component with maintaining the safety of young people.  In doing so, the Department of Education and the Department of Motor Vehicles sets stringent standards for bus drivers. The CHP’s School Bus Program facilitates the testing process for all school bus drivers, it oversees in-depth background investigations, and ensures compliance with required health qualifications.  Additionally, The CHP is responsible for inspecting every school bus operated on any roadway within California.  Annually, the Department inspects more than 24,000 buses each year.

The Grass Valley Area CHP School Bus Officer works weekly to ensure proper testing and oversight of school bus operations in western Nevada County, Sierra County, and parts of Placer County.  The officer inspects and reviews certain school bus stops, responds to complaints, conducts enforcement, and investigates school bus collisions. Recently, the Grass Valley CHP Area has partnered with its county-wide law enforcement allied agencies to conduct focused enforcement around school buses within the county.  The Grass Valley Area CHP remains steadfast in its commitment to the safety of our students and community.  Should you have any school bus related questions and/or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact Officer Bice (School Bus Officer) of the Grass Valley Area CHP at (530) 477-4900.