DHS Program Helps School Bus Drivers Fight Terrorism

WASHINGTON – American school bus drivers are being trained to watch for possible terrorist threats by the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Highway Watch program.

In July of 2005, Highway Watch partnered with the three largest school bus trade associations, the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT), the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS), and the National School Transportation Association (NSTA) to create School Bus Watch, an anti-terrorism training program for school bus drivers.

Participants complete a short training program that raises their awareness about terrorism, shows them how terrorists operate, and teaches them to recognize unusual behavior. Training also covers safety topics such as reporting accidents, disabled vehicles and other road hazards.

Once participants complete their training, they are issued a unique School Bus Watch Identification number, an ID card and a certificate of completion. When they observe suspicious activity or hazardous conditions, they are instructed to call the toll-free Highway Watch hotline, identify themselves using their ID number, and the call center personnel immediately contacts law enforcement in the area where the incident was observed.

The Highway Watch call center directs reports involving potential security threats to the Highway Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAC) which in turn thoroughly analyzes each report and shares the intelligence with law enforcement and national security agencies.

For more information regarding School Bus Watch, contact Sam Garza at sgarza@trucking.org or (703) 838-1929.

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