Before ever getting behind the wheel of a school bus potential driver candidates have to go through extensive training. And they must score an 80 percent on the final exam to continue the training.
John Odom is the Director of Transportation for Warren County School District. He says, "But they're not through yet. Safety is everything to us. That's what we're all about is safety. At that point they have to go through a learner walk around the bus to find all the safety hazards that could be on the bus. Turn signals and so forth. Air brakes, you name it."
Once they become certified bus drivers they have several features at their fingertips to keep kids safe.
Odom says, "We have got a gate. A crossing gate that comes out on the front of the bus and basically it comes out 10 feet. And students are required to cross in front of that gate. That way the bus has full vision of that child."
They also have cameras on 75 percent of the buses in Warren County. And Odom hopes to have cameras on every bus by the end of the year.
One thing you won't find on the buses is seatbelts. Odom says, "A lot of the issue comes from we have different sized kids. Some kids of the seatbelt goes across their chest, like it's supposed to, and it’s fine. Other, smaller kids it might come across their head. It's very difficult to size every single child."
One way they have to teach younger students about school bus safety is "Buster the Safety Bus." Odom says, "This is a computerized bus that basically sings songs. It talks about safety to kids. It basically gets down to where they can understand it."
And Odom says he may be partial, but he thinks the school bus drivers in Warren County are second to none.