Teaching kids school bus safety is one way to protect them on the ride to and from school. However, school districts can take additional steps to make the bus safe: by switching from diesel buses to an alternative fuel like propane.
Jenna Bush Hager, a teacher, author, journalist and parent of two, is partnering with the Propane Education & Research Council to educate parents and school districts about the benefits of propane school buses.
School buses powered by the alternative fuel offer numerous safety advantages. Propane school buses are quieter than diesel buses, making it easier for drivers to hear inside and outside the bus. This can have a direct impact on student behavior, and many districts have reported fewer disciplinary issues as a result.
"As a former teacher, I know how important the ride to and from school is for our children. We know what happens before they arrive at school sets the tone for the whole day and can affect a child's performance in the classroom," Hager said.
Using propane also helps reduce children's exposure to potentially harmful particulate matter found in diesel exhaust, which some studies show may escalate breathing-related issues and aggravate asthma. Many students, including those in wheelchairs who enter from the back of the bus, wait at stops near where their bus tailpipe will be. With propane, students no longer have to wait in the "cloud of black smoke" from diesel exhaust.
What's more, propane-powered school buses cost less to operate than diesel buses. This allows school districts to invest the money they save on transportation back into the classroom, supporting teachers and a better learning environment.
"School districts across the country are challenged now more than ever before to do more with less," Hager said. "With propane, school transportation departments can save thousands of dollars on fuel alone, which helps the entire school system stay on budget and free up dollars for other essential activities."