SYLACAUGA, Ala. – One of the most recognizable images of school is the yellow school bus, and school buses transport hundreds of children every day, twice a day. Over 750 Sylacauga children begin their day on a school bus, with more than 900 riding in the afternoons. The safe transportation of these children is the highest priority for a school system, and Sylacauga City Schools honors the district’s Transportation Department for their dedicated efforts during National School Bus Safety Week.
Sylacauga has twenty-two buses available to drive fifteen regular routes and two mid-day routes, according to Transportation supervisor David Wassermann. With morning and afternoon routes, the fleet averages traveling 700 miles every day.
Wassermann added that the buses average 60 children on afternoon routes.
“That’s the equivalent of more than three classrooms of kids sitting behind a driver. It is true that drivers have to keep two eyes on the road in front of them, and another pair of eyes behind them,” he remarked with a smile.
“There are so many aspects drivers have to be alert to in the safe operation of their buses, as well as ensuring that students behind them stay seated and safe. I am proud to say that we have an excellent staff of drivers. Many consider driving a ministry. They all care about the well-being of the children and the safety of the children in their care,” he said.
Wassermann gives credit to Ed Ford and his staff at the Sylacauga City Shop for the excellent maintenance they provide for the upkeep of the buses.
“Those guys are the best in the world and we could not operate without them,” he said. “All buses passed the last annual inspection and the Shop staff received an accommodation from the state. They keep us going and their efforts are a big reason our buses have such a good safety record.”
Sylacauga school buses are equipped with EMA certified radios so they can quickly communicate when needed with the Transportation staff. Drivers receive annual re-certification in compliance with state regulations, and perform pre-trip inspections before every route. Monthly bus safety inspections are performed by the city shop and annual inspections are performed by the state. Drivers receive on-going professional development training throughout the year to stay fresh on laws and regulations.
Wassermann added, “We take school bus safety very seriously when it comes to driver training and maintenance of the buses. Drivers must have a lot of patience to deal with road issues, the safety of 60 or more students at one time, and required documentation necessary for every trip every day. I applaud our drivers for the outstanding job they do and am proud to be part of this great group.”
Jeremy Law for SylacaugaNews.com | © 2017, SylacaugaNews.com/Marble City Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.