WILLIAMSON – With school back in session, local school bus drivers stress the importance of practicing safe habits to ensure the well-being of school aged children throughout the area.
Kathy Thompson, a bus driver for Mingo County Schools’ said, “All bus operators in Mingo County have the same goal: to drive students to and from school as safely as possible. Their safety and well-being is our number one priority.”
The American School Bus Council considers school buses to be a safer means of transportation than a typical personal passenger vehicle.
According to the American School Bus Council, “School buses are designed to be safer than passenger vehicles in avoiding crashes and preventing injury. They are tougher, cleaner and more diligently maintained than ever before. School bus drivers are required to receive special security and medical training and undergo regular drug and alcohol testing.”
Thompson stressed the importance of drivers being observant when driving on roadways during the hours when school aged children will be boarding or exiting school buses.
“When we are on the roads, we always have to be cautious of other drivers. Please, when you see a bus, slow down! When our lights are flashing, and especially when the stop sign is out on the side of the bus, do not pass us! Every day we have cars and trucks that are in a hurry and do this. It is not worth it to risk hurting or even killing a child,” Thompson said.
The National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NHTSA) states, that on average, about 134 school transportation related crashes occur each year.
“Could you live with yourself if you killed an innocent child?” Thompson asked.
The website, www.safekids.org, explains that drivers should slow down and stop when driving near a school bus that is flashing yellow or red lights because those are indicators that the bus is preparing to stop or is already stopped to allow children to enter or exit the bus.
During the school year, Thompson urges drivers to help keep school-aged children safe. “Please help us keep students as safe as possible while they are in our care. They are our children when they are on our bus and if it was your child or grandchild, you would want to be able to be able to trust us to keep them from all harm,” Thompson said.
For more facts on school bus safety, visit www.schoolbusfacts.com.
(Courtney Pigman is a news reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at [email protected], or at 304-235*4242, wxt. 2279.)