Each year a group of dedicated individuals has been hard at work preparing for the school year. This group includes our transportation coordinator and our bus drivers and bus shop employees. These employees want to be absolutely certain that all of our children have a safe experience from the time they step on the school bus until they arrive at their school in the morning or home in the afternoon.
Our school bus fleet has 23 buses and 15 full-time bus drivers. In addition to the regular drivers, there are a number of drivers who drive for special activities or substitute on regular routes. Our buses travel the roads from one end of Montgomery County to the other. Our drivers take children to and from school as well as to a multitude of special events and activities after school and on weekends. Each of these drivers has a Commercial Driver License (CDL) with passenger and school bus endorsements. Every driver undergoes training in highway and bus safety at least annually.
Our school system is very fortunate to also have a transportation staff who maintain our buses and make sure that safety is a priority. Each driver conducts an inspection of his or her bus prior to each trip to make sure that the bus is as safe as it can be. The mechanics conduct regular monthly inspections of each bus and make needed repairs to the buses to keep them in safe working order. In addition, they prepare each bus for an annual rigorous inspection done by the Department of Motor Vehicle Safety.
Keep in mind that our drivers are on the road by 6:30 a.m. picking children up for school. In the afternoons after school it is not unusual for some buses to be on the road until 6:00 p.m. Transportation Coordinator Brent Braddy reminds us that Georgia law requires you to stop your vehicle when you see a school bus stopped to load or unload students.
Driving a school bus is not an easy job. Drivers have to remain alert to road conditions, anticipate the actions of other vehicle operators, monitor bus gauges, and monitor the behavior of children. Because of recent accidents and events on buses, laws have been passed which restrict the use of various electronic devices on buses that in the past were okay for a child to have in their possession. Your child's school will have a list of these items. The reason these laws were passed was to eliminate distractions for drivers and help keep children safe while riding buses. Please talk with your child about the importance of behaving on the bus and obeying the directions of the driver who is responsible for the safety of all children in his or her care.
Remember when you see those big yellow school buses, that the entire transportation staff is working hard to keep our children safe. Our goal is to provide safe transportation for our students to and from school each day.
Parents should practice with their students so they can identify their bus stop and the path they will travel between the stop and their home.
Wear light colored clothes to improve their visibility to vehicles.
Plan to leave home in enough time to arrive at the stop at least five minutes prior to the scheduled pick up time.
Stay at least ten feet away from the main roadway when possible.
Do not play in the roadway.
Do not approach the bus until it is completely stopped and it is safe to do so.
No horseplay while en route to and from home or while at the stop.
Keep your hands to yourself.
Do not throw anything at other students, vehicles, animals, or property.
Stay off private property.
Remember: If it's against the rules at school, it's against the rules at the bus stop and on the bus.