Driving a school bus is a bigger responsibility than you think

WCPOPublished: August 18, 2017
Published: August 18, 2017

As you’re getting your kids ready to board the school bus each morning, how much do you know about their bus driver’s training? Driving a bus is difficult work, according to 30-year Boone County veteran Mike Dawson. In addition to navigating safely in a large, unwieldy vehicle, a driver needs to keep his or her attention at least partially focused on the children at all times. “Sometimes the responsibility of it all will make people think, ‘I don’t know if this is really what I want to do,’” he said. Boone County Schools officials said the training is strenuous. Both Kentucky and Ohio require drivers to have commercial driving licenses, and Kentucky drivers have eight hours of refresher training each year. In Ohio, drivers go through nine hours of recertification training once every six years. “If we find some problems or areas of improvement we think you can use, we’ll send you back for retraining,” Boone County Schools transportation director Robert Barrix said. Bus drivers are even taught quick maneuver skills to deal with Kentucky’s many narrow two-lane roads. However, Dawson said, the most dangerous part of the trip is getting on and off the bus. The 10-foot area around the bus is called the Danger Zone, and the vehicle’s many mirrors are meant to help drivers keep an eye on children as well as nearby traffic. “That’s why we have that crossing arm that comes out,” Dawson said.

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