ARTICLES AND INFORMATION
In 2012 Friendswood ISD purchased 12 clean and green propane-powered buses that are used on routes and trips daily. FISD has 3 additional propane powered buses ordered to be delivered during the 2015 – 2016 school year. Partial funding for the purchase of these buses was provided through clean air grants from the Texas Railroad Commission and HGAC. In addition to the lowered emissions, the propane vehicles have the substantial benefit of using 100% domestically produced fuel.
On the morning of Thursday, 2/7/02, ABC’s Good Morning America ran a segment entitled “Children’s Exposure to Diesel Exhaust on School Buses”. The segment was based on a study conducted by Dr. John Wargo, Professor of Risk Analysis and Environmental Policy at Yale University. In Dr. Wargo’s study, he has concluded that school children are at risk from riding in diesel- powered school buses, and that strong federal regulatory and local action should be taken immediately to reduce children’s exposure. He recommends, among other things, prohibiting bus idling, routings designed to limit the amount of time a student spends on buses and assigning the cleanest buses to the longer routes. Each of these items are already in place in FISD.
While Dr. Wago’s study appears interesting, it is important to know that this is the third study in less than a year that has focused on diesel-powered school buses and alleged health effects. In the previous two studies, one conducted in California and one in Virginia, both concluded that the exposure to diesel exhaust was well below the EPA standards to constitute a health risk.
It is important for parents to know that the big yellow school bus is the safest form of transportation for students to take to and from school. Each year, roughly 440,000 public school buses travel 4.3 billion miles, transporting 23.5 million children to and from schools and school-related activities. Nationwide, there are fewer than 10 school bus passenger fatalities each year. These tragedies typically involve unavoidable, severe circumstances. Contrast this very minimal risk with the more than 600 school- aged children who are killed each year in passenger cars or other private vehicles during school hours.
Because safety is our primary focus for our children, it is highly recommended that your child ride the school bus to and from school.