WHEREAS, traffic and motor vehicle crashes cause numerous personal injuries and fatalities, as well as extensive property damage; and
WHEREAS, according to the National Traffic Safety Administration (NTSA), an average of 135 people die annually in school transportation related crashes, including an average of 22 school-age children fatalities per year; and
WHEREAS, according to traffic crash reports, nearly four school bus crashes a day occur in Missouri; and
WHEREAS, a fatal school bus crash occurred on May 12, 2005 in Liberty, Missouri, killing two people and injuring several students, sending two to the hospital; and
WHEREAS, also on May 12, 2005, a train struck a school bus from the Wentzville School District during a field trip to Hannibal, causing minor injuries to some of the 37 people aboard the bus; and
WHEREAS, the safety of school children who ride school buses must be a top priority of both state and local government officials.
NOW THEREFORE, 1, Matt Blunt, Governor of Missouri, by virtue and authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the State of Missouri, do hereby create and establish the Missouri School Bus Safety Task Force.
The Task Force shall consist of nine (9) members appointed by the Governor. The Governor shall designate one (1) member to serve as chair. All members shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor.
Members of the Task Force shall receive no compensation for their service to the people of Missouri but may seek reimbursement for their reasonable and necessary expenses incurred as members of the Task Force, in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Office of Administration, to the extent that funds are available for such purpose.
The Task Force is assigned for administrative purposes to the Missouri Department of Transportation. The Director of the Missouri Department of Transportation shall be available to assist the Task Force as necessary, and shall provide the Task Force with any staff assistance the Task Force may require from time to time.
The Task Force shall meet at the call of its Chair, and the Chair shall call the first meeting of the Task Force as soon as possible.
The Task Force shall evaluate and make initial recommendations to me by August 15, 2005 on the following topics:
- Developing strategies for improving school bus safety, including, but not limited to, programs or laws that have proven effective to reduce the incidents of school transportation-related accidents;
- Analyzing current state and federal laws and programs governing school bus safety and recommending any changes that would enhance the effectiveness of these laws or programs;
- Reviewing whether requiring seat belts in school buses would prove effective in reducing fatalities and injuries in school transportation-related accidents;
- Recommending specific school bus safety legislation for possible consideration by the Missouri General Assembly; and
- Recommending best practices or policies that could be implemented by state or local governments that would enhance school bus safety.
The Task Force shall prepare a final report and submit it to me by December 31, 2005. The Task Force shall expire on December 31, 2005.
[Matt Blunt's signature]
[Robin Carnahan's signature]
Secretary of State