LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – The deadly school bus accident in Tennessee has many parents wondering about their own child’s safety aboard a school bus. Transportation Director Damon Evans explains that what happened is the kind of nightmare that makes a manager of transportation assess his own situation. “The first thing you think about right afterward is what we can do better as bus drivers and my staff.”
Evans says there are 302 buses in his fleet, 18 of which are spares. Evans calculates that none of the buses are equipped with seat belts except for one.
He acknowledges seat belts can be benefit in to help keep a child seated during an emergency. However, Evans say all emergencies not are the same such as the school bus fire back in May. Evans says if those children were strapped in, then it could have been a deadly fire. “When a bus catches fire or submerged in water the driver can’t unbuckle 65 seat belts,” notes Evans.
Evans says each standard bus within LPSS has 8 exits including a roof top exit. There are real-time GPS systems on each school bus. Evans says the systems allow him to track each individual bus on the road without leaving his desk. “It monitors your doors when you open it. It monitors when the brakes are hit. It monitors when you speed and when you go in reverse.”
In addition to concerns on the road, parents sometimes worry about administrative decisions. For example, when LPSS agreed to suspend the high school and GED job requirement to attract more applicants.
Evans says that move is temporary. Plus it has not effect on the core requirements. “Everything else stayed in place. All of the safety training we go through, the CPR training, the first aide training, and road test training,” explains Evans.
“If they have any kind of issues, we’re are one call away and they know that they can call us,” adds Evans.