"Think of Us on the Bus"
Eight Southwestern and Midwestern Ontario school boards have teamed up with the Ontario School Bus Operators, the Ministry of Transportation and the Chum Group Television stations in London, Wingham and Windsor to launch a major school bus safety campaign. The Campaign “Think of Us on the Bus” kicked off the week before the new school year got underway to remind drivers to watch out for children getting on and off the school bus, on rural roads or city streets.
The school boards and their bus operators involved in the partnership are: The Avon Maitland District School Board of Huron and Perth Counties, the Huron-Perth Catholic District School Board, the Thames Valley District School Board, the London & District Catholic School Board, the Bluewater District School Board of Bruce and Grey Counties, the Bruce-Grey Catholic District School Board, the Lambton Kent District School Board and the St. Clair Catholic District School Board.
The “Think of Us on the Bus” campaign was developed to remind drivers to avoid distraction while driving and pay particular attention to school buses. Vehicles travelling in either direction are required by law to stop for a school bus when its red lights are flashing and its stop arm is extended. It was determined that the campaign would be more effective by creating messages with a visual impact as opposed to information segments that focus on the legal consequences.
Three 30-second Public Service Messages were created and now air in high rotation on the three Chum Group stations. These hard-hitting realistic dramatizations focus attention on the danger involved for our children when drivers are distracted from the task at hand. The messages are delivered from three perspectives, that of the bus driver, that of the children riding the bus to and from school, and that of the distracted and potentially dangerous driver. All three messages climax with a scene that depicting a driver narrowly avoiding hitting a 7-year old female student who had just disembarked from the school bus.
“Think of Us on the Bus” was launched live on the New Day program aired on all three stations. As a follow up to the launch and the on-going airing of the messages, the Partnership will come together once again on October 20, 2004 on the New Day Television Program for a series of segments on School Bus Evacuation in an emergency, and emergency extraction training for police and firefighters. As well the popular Buster the Bus will put on a show for the primary children.
In the late fall/early winter, a new series of messages will be produced focusing on winter driving and school bus safety. On the accompanying page are photo’s taken directly from the three messages currently being featured in the “Think of Us on the Bus” campaign.