November 5, 2014 @ 8:28 AM

After studying and teaching the NYS School Transportation Safety Refresher on wellness I decided it was time for me to make healthier choices. Here I was, telling school bus drivers and monitors about the importance of having a healthy safety attitude (such as drinking more water, getting enough rest, and walking at least 15 minutes a day) and yet I was lacking in those myself. Sure, I get enough rest, but drinking 64 ounces of water a day or walking daily was not at the top of my list. So I decided to start drinking and get moving!

This morning I was out for a walk around my neighborhood when I noticed a big yellow school bus picking-up children. As I watched the driver activate their yellow warning lights and turn on their red flashers, I noticed there was something missing - no air brake! I watched as the bus went to its next stop and load children - sure enough, no air-brake again!

When I first started driving school bus back in the mid-nineties it was not a law to apply the air brake or parking brake but fortunately laws change and now it is a requirement. This is not the first time I have witnessed this unsafe behavior with a school bus and it bothers me every time.

As a professional school bus driver the safety of the children you transport needs to be your number one priority. I can't think of any reason not to use the parking brake when loading or unloading children on or off a school bus, the risk is too great.

The New York State School Bus Safety Training Program booklet School Bus Safety is One Bus Stop at a Time reinforces the importance of safety and states most fatalities occur outside the bus during the loading or unloading process at a bus stop or school. Students are most vulnerable to serious injury at this time because they are not inside the bus, which affords them protection.

Remember a healthy attitude includes a safety attitude. In school transportation this means not only taking care of yourself, but putting the safety of the passengers you transport at the top of your priority list!

Have a safe day!