As children across Connecticut get ready to go back to school, the state’s school bus drivers are preparing too.
The bus operators of All-Star Transportation, who take around 40,000 students across the state to and from school every day, are brushing up on the skills they use to keep their children safe.
“If the drivers can drive their buses safely, it lets them focus on those kids like they’re supposed to,” Brenda Bass, a safety supervisor for All-Star Transportation, said.
Drivers are brushing up on mirror use, driving in adverse conditions, checking to make sure their busses are equipped with necessary equipment and more.
Mayra Alejandro, a bus driver who also instructs fellow drivers, said courses like these are important.
“This is to refresh so we can get them in the habit of scanning their mirrors and be prepared to encounter unsafe drivers out there,” she said.
Instructors said mirror use and the ability to see everything around the school bus — including students and other vehicles -- is a critical skill for drivers to have.
“It requires the drivers to have special skills. They really need to use their mirrors. They need to know the size of their bus so they can get through these narrow situations,” Bass said.
And as much as driver safety is important, bus operators said it’s key that other drivers help to keep the roads safe for children as well.
All-Star’s tips for drivers and parents to review before heading back to school:
Watch for children waiting or walking to their bus stops.
When you see a bus with its amber lights activated, slow down and prepare to stop.
Never try to pass a bus when its red SOS lights are activated.
Slow down and use caution near school zones.
Have your children ready and waiting at their bus stops five minutes prior to their scheduled pick up times.
Children should wait 10 feet back from the edge of the road at their bus stops.
Children should not go toward the stopped bus until the driver signals it is safe with a head nod. This gives the driver time to check that ALL traffic has stopped.
Remind your children to stay out of the bus danger zones. If they can touch the bus they are too close!
Students should walk 10 big steps straight off the bus before turning in either direction to exit.
Students should never run back to the bus or try to bend down and pick up something they’ve dropped.