POSTED: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - 6:20pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - 6:54pm
Tyler, Tx (KETK) — The tragic accident in Chapel Hill reminds us all of the importance of safety around school buses.
The accident that took the life of 18-month-old Aria Preciado appears to be a case of a school bus driver who simply didn’t know the toddler had wandered in front of her bus. The sight lines over the large hood of a typical school bus are very limited. But there could be a solution.
One of the benefits of doing the auto reviews here is that I get to drive all the latest cars and trucks. And one thing many of them have now is an onboard camera. Some are rear facing for backing up. Some are mounted in the nose, along with sonar detectors to tell you when you’re too close to something or someone is in your blind spot.
By 2014, the DOT will mandate that every car from a Ford Focus to the most expensive Cadillac will have onboard cameras. You know what will not be mandated? School buses.
John Bagert Is the head of transportation for the Tyler Independent School District. He says they are rigorous about driver training.
“You don’t even have to come in with a commercial driver’s license,” he said. “We will put anyone applying for a driver’s position through 20 hours of our CDL training, which is a commercial driver’s license. To give them all the information they need to get their driver’s license. Plus it goes over all the state laws, everything they need to know to safely operate that bus. In addition, we put all of our drivers through 20 hours of student management.”
And in lieu of cameras, there are two parabolic mirrors on the front fenders pointed backwards. But, they only work if the driver is alert and checks them often.