CARL JUNCTION, Mo. — Nearly half a million yellow school buses move students to and from school every day.
Keeping those buses, and those students, safe is the goal during National School Bus Safety Week.
“Safety is something we worry about all the time, every time our buses are on the road,” said Jared Richmond, CJ Trans. Dir.
While that could be anything from mechanical issues to conditions inside the bus, Jared Richmond says the biggest problem his bus drivers see is traffic that passes a bus while it’s loading.
“I think most of the time people just don’t care. They see the bus, obviously for several hundred feet, and they’ll just run right through the stop sign with kids getting on or off the bus,” said Richmond.
He says his buses have cameras – which can document the violation — which they pass on to law enforcement like the Missouri State Highway Patrol as a moving violation.
“We need to be safe in our school zones. We need to be safe on school buses. So being distracted when you’re approaching a school bus running a stop arm. The consequences could be the death of a child and nobody wants that,” said Corp. Sam Carpenter, MO St. Hwy. Patrol.
The list of top challenges also includes keeping kids in their seats.
“School buses are set up to compartmentalize by keeping kids between seats instead of wearing seat belts. So if they’re turned around or facing the wrong direction, and then all of a sudden they’re we have to slam on the brakes are there is their crash then they get tossed into the seat sideways and get hurt,” said Richmond.
But not every school bus safety issue involves a school bus. It can also be the bus stop.
“We try to get kids to stay off the road, but you know kids will be kids. It makes it hard for other drivers coming through just even see them sometimes,” said Richmond.
So Richmond hopes drivers will remember to watch out for buses and students.
“You know kids can be unpredictable sometimes. We want to make sure the other drivers are always paying attention,” said Richmond.