National School Bus Safety Week happens once a year, and every year they change the theme. This year’s theme is “My Driver, My Safety Hero.”
Kanawha County bus drivers support this week, because they are the ones responsible for looking after students on their way to and from school.
13 News introduces you to a Kanawha County Safety Hero, Emily Lanham, who has been a bus driver for the last eight years, and said she can’t get enough of it.
“The community aspect is huge, I love the kids, I love getting to know them. I love getting to know the parents, hearing about their day, just all that stuff. That’s what makes my heart happy,” said Lanham.
She explained the first thing bus drivers are taught is safety and to make it their #1 priority, and it’s not just up to other motorists on the road to follow the rules, but the students as well.
While loading and exiting the bus, students must keep 10 feet away from the bus’s perimeter so the driver can see all students at all times. Bus drivers also have to give students the okay to cross and walk in front of buses.
As for other issues Emily experiences on her day to day routes, she said motorists often feel the need to race ahead of school buses and cut them off, not get over enough on tight roadways, drivers speeding around curves on the road while passing by, and the infamous passing a stopped school bus.
Emily said she thinks it’s a matter of people just don’t know what the laws are and make guesses on their maneuvers, which goes back to why she thinks National School Bus Safety Week should be recognized 365 days of the year.
“I wish there was more done, I think It’s important that people are knowledgeable about what the right law is for the right place they’re at, the right situation I guess, not just guess, because that’s what gets everybody in trouble,” said Lanham.
Schools all across the country participate in their own way, and for Kanawha County Schools, this Wednesday, October 24th, a press conference will be held where they will debut 12 new security cameras installed on the buses to improve safety. They also will go over new illegal pass reporting improvements.