OLYMPIA - Washington State Patrol Chief Ronal Serpas announced data collected by the patrol showed a 20 percent drop in the number of collisions and a 36 percent decrease in school bus driver caused collisions. "School bus collisions in Washington State fell dramatically in 2002 compared to 2001," he said.

While school bus drivers were the cause in 36 of 121 collisions in 2002, the vast majority were caused by drivers of other vehicles involved in the collision. Most collisions were minor, and none resulted in the death of a student riding in a bus.

The patrol in partnership with the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction is working to reduce school bus driver caused collisions. Last December ten state school bus driver trainers and five regional coordinators attended driver training at the State Patrol Academy. Trainers then returned to their school districts and are training the local driver trainers.

School buses continue to be the safest form of transportation for Washington's 455,000 students who ride the bus to and from school daily.

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