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School bus drivers follow strict safety rules

About a week from now, big yellow school buses will roll out for the first time this school year in the north and the south. Lanesville’s started Monday.
What many parents and other motorists may not know is that the planning for such an event has been underway for quite some time. After all, a school bus driver has an awesome responsibility.
‘Those children are the most precious cargo there is,’ said North Harrison’s transportation director Ken Oppel. ‘Our drivers are very responsible. They take their jobs seriously.’
Transportation director Sam Day, South Harrison Community School Corp., and Matt Kellems, director of transportation at Lanesville, would say the same.
Obviously, safety is of utmost importance.
‘We have safety procedures and the drivers are well trained,’ said Kellems. ‘We have procedures for everything.’
At a meeting with bus drivers in New Middletown last week, Day went over the guidelines for drivers to follow, such as:
‘ Come to a complete stop at pickup points, even when a student can’t be seen waiting at the side of the road. That student could be hidden from view by a bush, for instance, and might run out at the last minute to catch the bus. The child could be struck.
‘ Take down license plate numbers of any vehicle which doesn’t come to a stop when the stop arm is out; the penalty could range from a $125 ticketed infraction to a criminal charge. (Speeding in a school zone can bring a $175 ticket.)
‘ Keep ‘eyes and ears open’ for terrorists, such as individuals or groups of people who seem out of place or are engaged in questionable activity. ‘If you see anything suspicious, don’t hesitate to call the sheriff’s office,’ Day said.
‘ Report discipline problems to the child’s building principal.
‘ Watch for new speed limit signs, which have been or are expected to be posted soon on some county roads.
‘ Keep aisle free of obstructions, such as coolers and large musical instruments. ‘Aisles are to stay clear,’ Oppel said, as a common-sense safety measure. ‘If a bus turns over, stuff will go flying,’ he said.
‘ Plan ahead for tornadoes or other sudden, severe weather; get permission to use basements along the school bus route should the need arise. ‘In the last two or three years, we haven’t had just regular thunderstorms,’ Day said.
‘ Check for children who may still be on the bus at the end of a route. ‘Walk all the way to the back of the bus before you get out,’ Day told the bus drivers.

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