The emphasis on school bus safety has increased in Tennessee after last November’s tragic bus accident in Chattanooga, and school officials in Putnam County made sure their bus drivers were properly trained for emergency situations during a recent training exercise.
Per a report by the Herald-Citizen, Putnam County Schools worked with the county’s fire department to stage a mock fire onboard an 84-passenger school bus. Bus drivers for the school district then used their training to instruct “students” to put their heads down and wait to be tapped on the shoulder before evacuating the bus.
The school system’s supervisor of transportation says that bus fires are more likely to occur than rollover accidents, and that’s why it’s important for drivers to be prepared to safely handle these situations.
All bus drivers in Putnam County undergo emergency evacuation twice per year, and the school system also conducts two tests per year with students onboard. The goal is to teach both drivers and students the safest and most efficient ways of exiting buses that are on fire and filling with smoke, as doing so in a fast and orderly manner can save lives.
4 Bus Safety Tips to Teach Your Children
Bus drivers, legislators, and school officials aren’t the only ones concerned with bus safety: it’s also an important issue in the minds of parents and students. If your children ride the bus to and from school, you may be anxious about their safety. Statistically, school buses are a safe method of transportation for students, and accidents are rare.
However, you can further improve your children’s safety by making sure they always follow these safety tips:
- Be careful when entering and exiting buses.
Many bus-related accidents occur when students are waiting for buses, entering buses, exiting buses, or walking away from buses. Teach your children to wait at their designated bus stop in the morning and to never attempt to board a bus from the opposite side of the street if there isn’t a crosswalk or crossing guard. The same tip applies in the afternoon when they exit their bus.
- Keep aisles clear of bags and other belongings.
Children can be injured on buses due to tripping and falling, which can be made more dangerous when buses are in motion. Make sure your children know to keep their backpacks, gym bags, instrument cases, and other school-related items at their feet or under their seats and out of the aisle.
- Avoid causing distractions for other students and the bus driver.
Some school buses have monitors who are tasked with keeping order among students. However, they may not always be able to maintain control—and some buses don’t have them at all. When bus drivers are forced to deal with disciplinary issues, it takes their attention, eyes, and focus off the road, increasing the risk of accidents. Make sure your children know to be quiet and respectful while riding the bus.
- Learn how to operate emergency exits.
Buses are equipped with multiple emergency exits, including on the sides, rear, and top. Students who know how to operate these exits may be able to save lives in the event of an accident or emergency. Make sure your child is familiar with how to operate emergency exits and prepared to do so if necessary.
At Matt Hardin Law, our Cookeville bus accident attorneys know that many parents in Putnam County and throughout Middle Tennessee are concerned about their children due to recent bus accidents and media coverage of those events. Teaching your children the following safety tips is a great way for them to improve their own safety on the bus. And while bus accidents are rare, when they do occur, they are often caused by negligent drivers.
If you or your children were injured in a crash that was caused by a careless driver, you may be eligible to file a claim for compensation. To find out how our legal team can fight for your rights to money for medical bills and lost wages, contact our Cookeville office by dialing (931) 754-1188 or completing a free online consultation form.