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Education - Bus drivers trained for safe delivery

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By Wesley Kerrick

 

The restart of school means a fleet of buses back on the roads. With plenty of narrow, winding roads to travel, being a bus driver in Spencer County requires a particular attention to safety.

For all the other drivers, sharing the road with the buses also takes caution.

Spencer County Public Schools bus drivers gathered July 26 at the extension office for an eight-hour training session, where they heard a defensive driving presentation by a Taylorsville-based accident reconstruction expert. Rob Miller, a retired Kentucky State Police lieutenant colonel, owns and operates Crash Analysis and Reconstruction, LLC.
While his talk was directed to bus drivers, much of it is relevant for other motorists. Here are some highlights:

When driving during the day, your reaction time to a vehicle or other obstacle entering your path is about one and a half seconds.

If you’re going 40 mph, you need 90 feet to react. At night, you need 120 feet. If you’re texting, you need 300 feet.

“How many of you all would get on the interstate in rush hour traffic and close your eyes for four and a half seconds?” Miller asked. “You’d think that’s the stupidest thing you could do, and guess what? When you text on your phone and drive, that’s exactly what you’re doing.”

Intersections, blind curves, and hillcrests are the most dangerous places you can drive, so they require extra caution.

When approaching an intersection where the light is green, check the crossroad for oncoming traffic. Miller pointed out that nearly everyone has seen a driver run a red light at some point, and that you’re unlikely to notice traffic coming from a 90-degree angle if you’re only looking straight ahead.

For every 10 feet of your vehicle’s length, allow an extra second of stopping time.
Secure any cargo that’s with you inside the vehicle, keeping in mind that in a collision, free items continue moving at the speed you were traveling, so they could hit you in the back of the head at that speed.

At a railroad crossing, never underestimate the speed at which an oncoming train is approaching. Miller said even though he’s had years of experience judging the speed of cars and trucks as a police officer, he was once nearly struck by a train that he’d thought was a long distance away.

When waiting at a railroad crossing, stop 15-25 feet from the nearest rail. The train may be carrying cargo wider than a regular train car.  

Miller said Spencer County’s drivers have a good record so far.

“I watch you all driving your buses all the time,” he said. “In all the times that I’ve seen your buses, I’ve seen one bus that was exceeding the speed limit. So I congratulate you all.”

Also at the session, Spencer County Elementary School nurse Cynthia Hayes trained the bus drivers on the use of Diastat, EpiPen and glucagon treatments for students having a seizure, an allergic reaction to a bee sting, or dangerous blood sugar levels.