Are school districts prepared for bus crashes?
The recent blast of winter weather has made for slick roads, which has caused several accidents involving buses carrying students.
If a bus is in an accident the protocol is about the same across northern Michigan school districts.
Student safety is a top priority and drivers immediately check on their passengers right after a crash, based on their training.
â??The drivers put in the responsibility of being the first one to assess the situation and take the immediate steps which is why training is important,â?? Mike Murray, Suttons Bay Public Schools Superintendent.
A supervisor with the school district is sent to the accident scene and determines whether the bus is safe to drive.
â??If the vehicle is not safe to drive then yes we would send another bus, and typically we keep the driver that was involved in the accident at the scene in case any more information is needed, so we would just have somebody else take over the route to get the kids home,â?? Christine Thomas-Hill, Traverse City Area Public Schools Director of Transportation.
Law enforcement officers will make a report of the accident at the scene, and if the bus driver is at fault they will be given a drug and alcohol test.
â??If it were more serious... we would do more formal contact where people in the office would take a list and we'd start calling parents so they had person-to-person contact. Ifâ?¦ the bus was bumped in to and it's running five to ten minutes late we would just do an all-call, so that parents know what's going on.â??
If your child is on a bus involved in an accident parents are being asked to not drive to the scene. The bus driver is required to take a head count and make sure every student is accounted for, and school officials say it can get confusing if parents pick up their children from the scene of an accident.
â??We want to make sure that when we release the students we're releasing them to who they're supposed to be released to, and when you just randomly have parents coming up to the bus it's really hard to make sure you're giving them to the right people.â??