Back to School: How bus drivers are preparing and keeping kids safe

Posted at 7:58 AM, Aug 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-21 07:58:04-04

KENT COUNTY, Mich. - Back to school means back to riding the bus for a lot of West Michigan students.

That also means bus drivers are getting ready and making sure their busses are ready to hit the road.

Kenowa Hills school bus drivers prepared by hitting the road Wednesday to get re-familiar with their busses and routes on dry runs.

But they aren't just preparing this week, school bus drivers say before every trip bus driver do a thorough safety check of their busses, both inside and outside.

"We do, like, our pre-trip and check everything in the seats, windows, back doors alarms, all your gauges, all your equipment, your switches," said Alyssa Meiras, Kenowa Hills school bus driver of 18 years. “All of our exit windows we have to check and make sure they are properly working. Make sure we are running properly, working properly. Then we go out and check all the tires, the outside of our busses."

Meiras says her main focus is the safety of her kids, but she can only control so much. She needs drivers on the road to help her keep the kids safe.

"Patience is a virtue when you’re out driving, you know," said Meiras. "But it is my job to keep the kids safe to and from school. That is my number one priority."

Some of the most common issues are drivers driving around the bus, despite the stop sign arm and flashing lights.

Meiras says if the stop arm is engaged, drivers on both sides of the road need to stop.

"Running the overhead reds. You need to stop, you need to pay attention. We have kids that are crossing. We have kids that are coming, sometimes, in all different directions," said Meiras. "Pay attention please, it's our kids safety thats on the line, it's not just yours but it's 70 other kids."

Parents can help too. Bus drivers say it's important parents teach their kids how to act at bus stops and to listen to their bus drivers when entering and exiting the bus.