When your company transports nearly 4,000 kids every day to and from school with a total mileage of about 650,000 miles every year, you should listen when they talk safety.

Robert Mitchell, or ‘Mitch’, is the General Manager of Beach Transportation, and he was ready and willing to talk about the topic during National School Bus safety Week.

When the school bus has to load and unload students, drivers need to stop and allow those kids to get across the street safely,” said Roberts. “These busing times before and after school, there are a lot of kids who are walking from home to the bus stops and that all a part of school bus safety."

Mitchell said it is a serious violation to pass a school bus when the red lights are flashing.

“If you travel through those red lights and through that stop sign, that’s considered reckless driving,” he said. “If you’re caught and convicted you’ll be punished to the full extent of the law. It’s one of the most serious traffic offenses anyone could get.”

But, drivers aren’t the only ones with school bus safety rules. The kids have their own set of rules, if you will, the 10 commandments of riding the school bus.

“They need to be seated properly,” he said. “A school bus has what is called compartmentalization, and each seat is considered a safety compartment, so they can receive optimal safety if they get to their seat and are seated properly. They need to keep the noise at a reasonable level, keep the bus clean, and if they have the windows open, they need to keep all parts of their bodies inside the bus.”

Mitchell said not all the commandments are for inside the bus,

“Six of those ten items are for things that are happening outside the bus,” he said. “Kids have to stay at least 10 feet away from what they call the danger zone when they’re not in the bus. When they’re outside the bus and they have to cross the street, wait for the bus driver to signal that it’s safe and then they look both ways before they cross.”

Mitchell said Beach Transportation has the school bus contract for all the Missoula public schools.

“Missoula County Public Schools, Target Range School, Lolo School and DeSmet School all have contracts with Beach Transportation,” he said.