You worry the economy has hit a wall I worry about the school bus doing it lately, who’s driving your child and should they be?

I am an expat Aussie who started her school as a 4 year old in the Clare valley of South Australia, a little community that divides the plush green of the world famous wine district the Barossa valley from the arid dry mid north flinders ranges of South Australia’s outback. I am used to school busses we used to live on a sheep property called ANAMA  it was a merino stud our family owns large tracts of cattle country further in the outback but when I started school we were staying with my grandparents for a while and Anama was about 20,000 acres and it was almost a half mile from grans house to the front gate on the highway 1 from Clare to port Augusta every day the school bus driver would pick us up he was serious he was sober and he took driving very seriously as far as I know during this time in the early 1960’s till today have never ever had an accident involving the school bus even though the highway that is part of the route is the direct route from both Perth and Darwin and carries more tractor trailers per day than anywhere else in the country. Now fast forward to 2012 New York city there has not been a month in the last 12 where a school bus and many of them carrying special needs children has not flipped upside down crashed into a wall or gone through a house and more than one of the drivers including yesterdays were under the influence of both drugs and alcohol and one was even a wanted criminal driving on a suspended license using a false name.

Who’s driving your children? Should you have the right to know their id so you can do a back ground check? You check the back ground of baby sitters, you Google sports coaches and doctors you interview teachers at potential schools but who’s behind the wheel as your special needs baby’s wheelchair is loaded onto a bus or your baby walks up the stairs?

In some countries drivers are breath tested before every shift, I know this sounds radical but if it was me I would own a home alcohol breath testing kit and would ask the driver to blow. Of course the shit would hit the fan and the driver would refuse  but something has to change yesterday a small yellow bus with 5 children became air born and landed through the lounge room wall of a house all 5 children went to hospital none serious thank goodness but the driver today has been charged with DUI . Below is his story and several others from just this year.

reposted from a story on ABC7 via Long Island News

 

Driver in Syosset mini-bus crash charged with DWI

Updated at 11:30 AM today

  Eyewitness News

SYOSSET, New York (WABC) — The mini-school bus driver who crashed into a home on Long Island Wednesday has been charged with driving while intoxicated.

The bus, coming from St. Edwards the Confessor School, crashed into the house Jackson Avenue in Syosset just after 3 p.m.

Police say 66-year-old Frederick Flowers is now charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated under Leandra’s Law.  He was also charged with driving while intoxicated while operating a school bus with student passengers, second-degree reckless endangerment, endangering the welfare of a child and driving while intoxicated.

The Massapequa Park resident is still being treated at Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow for non-life threatening injuries.

Investigators determined Flowers was drunk following the crash. None of the five students on the bus was injured, and nobody was home at the time of the accident.

  • As of 12pm thursday 10/4/2012 the 66 year old driver  frederick Flowers has been charged with 5 counts of felony dui under leanders law( leanders law is a law that makes it a felony to drive under the infleunce with a child in the vehicle) and 5 counts of felony endangering the welfare of a child

The bus company, First Student, told Eyewitness News that Flowers has been one of their drivers since March of 2009, has a clean driving record and passed all pre-employment screenings, which include drug and alcohol testing, as well as a complete background check.

“We conduct random drug and alcohol screenings, as well as DMV checks, throughout each driver’s tenure,” Director of Media Relations Maureen Richmond said in an email. “We are conducting a full internal investigation and assisting authorities with theirs. The driver is suspended pending the outcome of the investigation. The safety and security of our students is our core value, and a responsibility we take very seriously.”

_______________________________________________________________________

 

 School bus accident in Brooklyn
Posted: May 31, 2012 8:52 AM EDT Updated: Jun 07, 2012 8:52 AM EDT

By KATHY CARVAJAL, Web Producer -
 

 More than a dozen handicapped people were aboard a school bus that struck a fire hydrant in Brooklyn Thursday morning, according to police.

Seven passengers who are mentally challenged were taken to Kings County Hospital with minor injuries, according to FDNY/EMS officials.

The bus struck the hydrant near Bergen St. and New York Ave. in Crown Heights just before 8 a.m.

Aerial footage from SkyFOXHD showed several firefighters on the ground trying to get beneath the rear of the bus.

It is not clear why the bus struck the hydrant.

Makes you think doesn’t it will you be smiling tomorrow morning as you put your kids on the bus or will you be getting close enough to smell if they have alcohol on their breath?

3 thoughts on “You worry the economy has hit a wall I worry about the school bus doing it lately, who’s driving your child and should they be?

  1. I am handicapped and just graduated from high school this past year. I was extremely excited because it would be my first time riding a school bus. The bus came at around 6:40 every day, so I wasn’t too excited for that, but I got over it.
    Riding that bus for just one year taught me never to trust how other people drive.

    The first driver we had LOVED to chatter. He was so loud I could hear him over the bus’s engine and the music I had playing in my ears. He was also a fan of hand gestures. I later found out that his waving hands while driving was something he was known for in the company. He was also a nosy person and HAD to know what you were talking about at all times, further distracting him. This driver (like most in that particular busing company {we would get a lot of sub drivers when this driver took over other routes}) would drive, sometimes, close to fifty-five miles an hour down the country roads. Another thing he like to do was look off to the sides of the road for deer (I live in the back roads) and that sometimes led to him turning his head so far that there was no way he could see the road.
    I called him out once on the deer watching thing. I said something along the lines of, “It’s sad when I’m not driving but I watch the roads more than you do.” He then went into a rant about he still being able to watch the road with his peripheral vision, complete with hand gestures. I put a fairly quick end to it when I reminded him I wasn’t an idiot and know what peripheral vision is.
    That particular driver had been fired THREE TIMES before last year.

    That driver got switched to a different bus eventually, and we ended up getting someone who was (amazingly) a worse driver than the first. The second couldn’t even manage to start the route on time, but blamed the nice bus aide for being late, when she was ALWAYS early.

    Sorry to write such a large rant, but I just wanted to show that it seems like no one cares about who drives the handicap accessible buses.

    • Don’t apologise your reply is well written and intelligently stated. These drivers are disgusting as write this reply the abc 7 ny news is reporting a long island driver was pulled over speeding weaving all over the highway and when stopped had a half drunk bottle of vodka under his seat and blew over thelimit when made to blow in the breathalyser. I am in a wheelchair for life and I was an excellent driver before becoming disabled I am glad im not on these busses I would be demanding they pull over and I would take the wheel (although the not working legs might be a problem …lol) again thnaks for your reply

      • Thank you. It’s appalling how much these drivers get away with. I was honestly scared for my life once or twice on that bus. Other kids had their parents complain, so I figured one more wouldn’t be able to do much, but I think their complaints are why that driver got moved to another bus.

        I even stated multiple times that I could drive the buses better, and I’ve never even driven a car. :) Most associated people agree.
        Thanks for the swift reply!

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