Welcome to the second semester everyone!
It’s a 3 day weekend and I hope everyone is relaxing and adjusting to the stress of remembering to write 2024 on all your paperwork.
I decided to write this because of a very serious situation that occurred at my district a few days before the Christmas break. Because this is a very important part of our job, I have no problem talking about it with you.
One of my district drivers had a serious RAILROAD incident that could happen to any of us while we are out driving.
Railroad Crossings are one of the most dangerous procedures we go through next to the Loading and Unloading process.
At my District, Phoenix Elementary, our buses cross railroad tracks numerous times every day as we are in downtown Phoenix and surrounded by mainline railroad tracks. You can’t leave our Bus Yard without crossing a track in any direction. This incident showed that it takes one miscue on our part to make a very serious mistake that could have caused something serious to happen including a possible loss of life.
Fortunately, we didn’t lose anyone (this time) but you never know. This driver was at one of the many multiple track crossings that surround the downtown area and what was shown on the bus video system was not very comforting nor supportive to the training school bus drivers receive in our state.
This veteran certified school bus driver, failed to stop properly at a double track and ended up getting struck by the crossing arm as a train was approaching. Other things happened at this crossing that our video showed, but the main thing was this driver did not stop properly and with a train approaching and lights, arms and train horn activated. It was a very scary video to watch especially because of what could have happened.
Yes, this school bus driver is no longer employed and DPS was very quick and supportive with their decisions. I also welcomed our staff back after the break with a railroad refresher class of my own. I hope to also get Operation Lifesaver in to do a refresher. I know it may sound like overkill on the training, but when it comes to this procedure, there is never enough and reminders can help staff remember the importance of keeping our students safe every day.
Many districts do not have railroad crossings in their area and I hope that once you leave your district, will you remember the proper school bus crossing procedures?
Operation Lifesaver will come out and do a program for you and I encourage everyone to do a refresher so we can remain safe. There are also many YouTube videos about railroad crossing accidents in the U.S., watch them and learn.
I remain committed in my opinion that we are the some of the best trained and professional school bus drivers in America. Don’t let a lapse in safety ruin your day or job.
The AAPT Executive Board will have a meeting this coming weekend as we begin preparations for the 2024 School Bus Safety Road-eo on March 9, 2024 at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in Phoenix. More information will be forthcoming next week after our meeting. If you have any comments or suggestions, I urge you all, please contact us so we can discuss any input you may have.
Enjoy your week, be safe and know you are all loved.
AAPT Social Media Rep