Please Stop! PLEASE for the love of God. STOP for the school bus. I have not been a school bus driver for long. Two years to be exact. Up until this point, driving has gone fairly smoothly. Cars on the road respect the red school bus warning lights and stop. I give them a friendly ‘thank you for stopping’ wave, and we are on our way. This year, unfortunately, that has not been the case. I have averaged two drivers a week who have run through my lights while I have children loading/unloading the bus. To say I am frustrated by this is an understatement. I am only one driver out of many experiencing this on a regular basis in our town. That, in itself, is the most frightening part.
So why is a yellow vehicle, 40 feet long with overhead red flashing lights and a stop sign that extends out in front of oncoming traffic, being ignored? With the exception of a few deliberate cases, I don’t believe the majority of people are doing this on purpose. I don’t think they wake up and say, “I don’t think I have enough stress in my life, so today I am going to see if I can hit a 6-year-old on my way to work”.
A lot of it is due to drivers’ inattention. They are looking at their phone, flipping through papers on the seat beside them, turning around talking to their own kids in the backseat of the car, etc. They don’t seem to see or acknowledge me until I blare the horn. Every time I honk, I startle them. They jump, or curse, or put their hand to their chest like I’ve just given them a heart attack. If they only knew how many mini-heart attacks I have in one day driving that school bus.
We all have a lot going on in our daily lives. I get that. I really do. So take a minute, and clear your head before you get behind the wheel. Focus on the road and your surroundings.
As school bus drivers, we have a responsibility to ensure our students arrive safely to their destination. If you are on the road with us, you share in that responsibility (whether you want to or not). All I am asking is for you to PLEASE pay attention and help us do that.