PINELLAS COUNTY, FL (WFLA) – Pinellas County Schools begin Monday morning. School bus drivers are already practicing their routes. 8 On Your Side’s Lindsey Mastis rode along with Regina Walker as she prepared for the school year. Her bus begins rolling around 5:30 in the morning. But even before she can get to her first stop, she’ll begin to worry about the children.
“Kids come from all directions,” she explained, “They’re just trying to get to their bus stop, play with their friends, goof around.” If a driver isn’t paying attention, it could be deadly.
“I’ve seen the worst of the worst,” she admits. A few years ago, Walker describes witnessing a teenager run across the road to catch a different school bus and get hit by a car. The teen died.
Walker wants kids to be vigilant no matter what the circumstances. “Wait for the school bus driver to signal you across. Don’t automatically assume that it’s safe to cross because we have cars run bus stop arms daily,” she said. She also believes cars have ample warning to stop. She starts flashing her lights before stopping.
“When you see the yellows, start slowing down. When you see the red stop arm come out, stop,” she said. Drivers should leave for work earlier and remain patient while waiting behind a school bus.