Is it really so difficult to pull over for a minute?
I remember working for a courier company which sent texts to my phone regarding the next pick up or drop off. It certainly was easier to read it while I was driving — especially when on the open road with few other cars around. But when you think of the recent deaths caused by truck drivers who were texting, it puts everything into better perspective. Safety is much more important than finishing a job a few minutes earlier.
Pull over. We’ll all feel better.
I also heard from Pete Japiske of the ODE’s Pupil Transportation Office. He noted that another tragedy took place when a vehicle ran the red flashing lights of a bus.
Tragedy has again occurred within our transportation community. On Thursday, January 21, a high school student in Northwest Ohio was struck and killed by a passing motorist as she crossed the street to board her school bus. The bus was stopped, red lights flashing, and stop sign deployed. While the details of this case will most certainly continue to investigated, and undoubtedly will be reported and debated for years to come, it is again a case where we are reminded of the challenges in our profession. With all of the processes that we follow-including route planning, student stop assignment, student safety training, driver safety training, public awareness campaigns, and all of the vehicular equipment we use, including flashing red lights and stop signs, the inescapable fact remains that not everything is within our control.
He proposed several good ideas about transportation safety that should be considered by all drivers:
“The next time you report to work, complete your vehicle pretrip and then pause and take a moment to collect your thoughts, focus your energy and attention, and prepare to devote your best concentration on both operating your vehicle defensively and watching over your children.”
“Consider every vehicle on the roadway a potential risk – continually use the ‘what if … ‘ tactic of evaluating potential risks. Never assume that another motorist around your bus will do what they are supposed to, or that they see your big yellow bus and all of its flashing lights.”
“Follow the guidance of Ohio law with regard to turning in motorists who violate your school bus red lights. While your attention is most certainly focused on the children outside the bus, have bus helpers support you in obtaining license numbers and vehicle descriptions of motorists who choose not to stop for a stopped school bus, as required by law. This means that you should report these motorists.”
As a former bus driver, I have had vehicles run my lights and later complain about me turning them in. But when you consider the possibility of injury or even death of those under your care, it’s vitally important that drivers be held accountable for their actions. In the end, let’s all drive carefully for the safety of all!