This is School Bus Safety Week in Utah, as well as throughout the country, and Utah drivers are being asked to cooperate in making travel for school children as safe as possible.

More than 1,600 school buses are on the state's roads, transporting more than 153,000 children to and from school each day, said Kelvin Clayton, transportation specialist in the State Office of Education. Before the end of the year, the buses will have traveled nearly 18 million miles."I call upon the citizens of our state to exercise constant courtesy and caution when near school buses," Clayton said. The state's school bus drivers have an excellent safety record, he noted.

Their most frequent complaint about other drivers is failure to obey the law that requires them to stop for a halted school bus displaying flashing red lights.

"Sometimes drivers are not alert and pass a stopped bus," Clayton said. "This is a very dangerous situation for the children, especially the younger ones who may not be watching traffic as closely as they should."

In conjunction with the special weeks, the state office conducted a poster contest. Winners are Randy Maryboy, 8th grader in Bluff Elementary, San Juan District, and Natalie Mecham, 5th grader in Central Elementary, Wasatch District. They will receive certificates and will have their posters entered in national competition.

The contest attracted about 200 entries. Second place winners were Tiffany Jensen, 2nd grade, Lynn Elementary, Ogden District, and Ian Waterman, 5th grade, Central Elementary, Wasatch District.