School buses back on the road next week

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

By Ivory Riner

Tribune intern

With the first day of school just a week from today, Marshall County Schools Transportation Foreman Chuck Brown wants to remind drivers to stop for school buses as they pick up and drop off students. There are 40 bus routes in Marshall County.

Brown says his biggest problem with drivers is their failure to stop for the bus stop sign when children are boarding or exiting the school bus. He thinks this is partially caused by drivers using their cell phones instead of giving full attention to the road. This problem is especially prevalent on West Commerce Street. Brown says drivers in all four lanes MUST stop for the bus stop sign and are NOT allowed to pass the bus.

A driver can pass a bus while it is stopped at train tracks. A driver can pass a bus when its four-way emergency flashers are blinking, but not when the lights at the top of the bus are flashing.

Another problem he and his staff encounter is that drivers are pulling too far ahead of the white line at stop signs, which doesn't give the bus driver room enough to turn into that road.

"Give buses extra room and pay attention when near a school bus," said Brown, asking drivers to be extra cautious to protect the children.

The school bus garage is still hiring drivers. The job offers good benefits, and takes five to six hours a day, divided between morning and afternoon. To drive a bus you need a CDL with school bus and passenger endorsements. You also have to pass a background check and a drug test. Brown points out that any criminal activity, even in the distant past, will prevent a person from working for the school system. If you want to be a bus driver, call Brown at (931) 359-4866.

This is also the number for parents to call if they need information about getting their child picked up by a school bus.

Wednesday, Aug. 6, is a half day of school. Buses will pick up children in the morning, and take them home at mid-day.

Friday, Aug. 8, will be the first full day of the new school year.

All the buses have cameras. If a child misbehaves on the bus, the bus driver will write them up and turn the information over to Tres Beasley, who is responsible for bus discipline.

Most bus rules are designed to keep the children safe, and they are expected to behave as they do in the classroom: sitting quietly in their seat. Statistically, Brown says, children are safer riding the bus than traveling to school by private car.