School bus safety from the driver’s seat

File photo courtesy Florida Highway Patrol
File photo courtesy Florida Highway Patrol

PINELLAS COUNTY, FL (WFLA) — You’re about to see a lot more school buses on the roads, and it could affect your commute. Classes start Monday for students in Pinellas County Schools. 8 On Your Side’s Lindsey Mastis got behind the wheel of a school bus on a closed course to show what it’s like from the school bus driver’s perspective.

A big issue for drivers are blind spots. Although large mirrors help school bus drivers see along the sides of the bus, it also blocks part of their view. Roadmaster Driving Instructor Reggie Causey teaches school bus drivers a maneuver called “Rock and Roll.” School bus drivers rock from side to side, forward and backward so they can see around these large mirrors. It’s imperative because it could keep them from seeing whether a student made it across the street safely.

Once kids leave the bus, it’s up to them to make sure they’re safe. Even if the bus’s stop sign is out, kids should still look both ways. And children should be cognizant of the bus’s blind spots while crossing. “They should be walking 10 feet in front of the bus,” said Causey.

Railroad crossings are dangers zones too. School buses have to stop, but other vehicles often forget. “Often times they would be somewhat impatient. And sometimes they’d pass you where they really shouldn’t,” said Causey.

One of the biggest threats to the safety of children are drivers that disobey the bus’s flashing lights and stop sign. Causey wants drivers to be patience, and give themselves extra time to get to work in the mornings.

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