School starts this week in both Wilson and Robertson Counties, but administrators with both school districts say they’re facing a shortage of qualified bus drivers.
WKRN.com reports that Wilson County has enough bus drivers for day one, but the coming weeks could be a challenge. Officials with that school district say that one of the biggest challenges when it comes to hiring drivers is finding people who are capable of handling potentially unruly children on multiple routes each day.
A spokesperson with the Wilson County school system says that there are 130 bus drivers on the payroll, but the county needs around 10 more to cover for drivers when they call out sick.
Robertson County is also facing a shortage and needs to hire about five new drivers. Applicants must complete rigorous training and testing before they’re allowed to get behind the wheel with dozens of children onboard their buses. Even veteran drivers must annually be re-certified for their positions to remain in good standing with the school system.
The transportation director for Robertson County schools says that bus drivers may have three full classrooms of children on their buses at any time, which means excellent driving skills and the ability to manage large groups of students are must-haves for the position.
Tips for Driving Near School Buses
With the 2017-2018 school year starting this week in many districts throughout the mid-state area, it’s a good time to re-familiarize yourself with the best way to stay safe and avoid creating the risk of an accident when you share the roadway with school buses. Whether you’re driving near one in the morning or afternoon, it’s important to remember than dozens of children may be onboard, and the bus driver may be dealing with many distractions.
To reduce your risk of being involved in an accident with a school bus, you can:
- Come to a complete stop when a bus picks up or unloads children.
Buses are equipped with flashing lights or stop signs that extend when they stop to pick up or unload students. Those signs are just as valid in terms of traffic laws as stop signs that you encounter at intersections. Always come to a complete stop on both sides of a street until the stop sign is retracted or flashing lights turn off, all children are away from the roadway, and the bus begins moving again.
- Don’t follow too closely.
School bus drivers must be extra cautious behind the wheel, and that means they may slow down or come to a complete stop in situations where other drivers don’t. If you’re following a bus too closely, you may be unable to stop or slow down in response to the bus’s sudden deceleration. Always leave several car lengths between the front end of your vehicle and the rear of a bus that’s traveling in front of you.
- Remember that bus drivers have large blind spots.
Semi-trucks and tractor-trailers have four “No Zones” that drivers should avoid due to blind spots: the area in front of the truck, underneath the driver’s side window, the lanes adjacent to the passenger window, and directly behind the truck’s cabin. Buses are similar, and drivers may be unable to see nearby vehicles even with their mirrors and turning their heads. Give buses plenty of room on the road and avoid drivers’ blind spots to stay safe.
Matt Hardin Law’s team of Nashville bus accident attorneys knows that thousands of students in Middle Tennessee get to and from school every day on buses. And while parents must trust bus drivers and school administrators to keep their children safe, it’s important for them to do their own part in creating safe roadways for school buses throughout the mid-state area.
Was your child injured in a bus accident that was caused by a negligent driver? If so, you may be eligible to pursue a claim for compensation for his or her medical bills. Our legal team knows bus accident laws in the Volunteer State, and we know what it takes to win. Get in touch with us today, and let us put our experience to work for you and your child. Dial (615) 200-1111 or complete a free online consultation form.