Ohio Safety Plate

Ohio has recently passed bill 207 making a school bus safety license plate available state wide!

This plate features a picture of a school bus with flashing lights and states that we need to stop for them. The plate allows for new level of school bus awareness for the public!

I think this is a super idea and would love to see this become available in every state in the next year or so! People who want this specialty plate can buy it for $20.00 a year.

The bill 207 allocates $10 to the state and $10 to OAPT, “which shall use the money to support transportation programs, provide training to school transportation professionals, and support other initiatives for school transportation safety,” the law states.

This is an amazing way to promote awareness and raise funds for school bus transportation. Here’s to seeing many, many of these on the roads!

Chattanooga: New Charges for Walker!


Walker, who drove and crashed a school bus in Chattanooga Tennessee last November is facing new charges in his trial.

Acording to reports Walker faces six counts of vehicular homicide, charges of reckless aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, reckless driving and using a portable electronic device as a bus driver.

He is a deplorable example of what a school bus driver should be like. We put all of our trust I the people who bring our children to school for us everyday and he leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth.

There is further talk that he may not face any jail if he  receives alternative judgement such as probation with a community service time.

I hope for the charges to all stick and letting this man anywhere near a moving vehicle should never be allowed!

Iowa is Going Mobile!

Iowa has decided to move forward in by using mobile devices such as an iPad/tablet in their school buses for gps, student counts, and a few extra daily tasks.

Monitor placement example.

If used properly they will allow for the bus driver to better monitor the students onboard and their route progress/efficiently! Strict rules and restrictions have been placed on the table usage and placement.

They cannot block anything essential on the counsel, they cannot block driver sight or mirrors, and they cannot block any path thatbmaybresult in a student clothiers/ backpack being caught on them.

With the way they are set up the driver will only be able to used school bus related programs on them and the tablets screen will go dark during transit, leaving only the sound activated in the drivers compartment. This is in hopes that a lit screen and on screen motion is not a distraction to the driver.

i adore this idea! It would be very handy to have them installed in more buses! Looking forward to seeing how this all works out!

Webinar Takes You Through Automated Buses

Webinar is talking 21st century sci-fi! I am all about the thrill of updating school buses and their safety features! Not sure talking automated school buses is the best way to go but who doesn’t love rooting for th underdog ideas?

Mentioned is that it takes time for new technology to trickle down the automotive line and reach school buses and other larger vehicles- almost 20 years in some cases.  Cars can take the front line modifications due to their size and weight, then small vans and eventually pick up before we finally see an attempt at a bus. Currently buses are being equipped with some driving assistance systems and gps updates.

Id say we still have a ways to go before we have self parking or driving school buses! I have high hopes for the future of automation! Let’s bring about floating buses and sci-fi infused action!



School Transportation Technology and JAK the App

We have been sharing some information on the development of JAK the App. In her years in the school transportation industry, Kari identified 14 headaches for school transportation personnel. In the below audio clip of the interview with Tim Hennagir, Managing Editor of the Monticello Times, Kari discusses technology in school transportation, her development of JAK the App, and how JAK addresses 13 of the 14 headaches.

Aftermath of a Crash


When a school bus is involved in a crash there are about a thousand things that need to be addressed immediately. We need to know how bad the crash was, who was involved, why the bus crashed, and do children need to be sent to the hospital? These are just the beginning of what needs to be assessed.

Then, there is what the media wants to know: who was involved, why did the bus crash, do children need to be sent to the hospital, and why were they not required to wear seatbelts on the school bus? That last question concerns me. I have been raised in a school bus filled world and as part of a privately owned school bus company. I feel that this question has caused a lot of anger and confusion over the years. I have never understood why it was so hard to understand. Personally, when they tally the votes for putting seatbelts in school buses they can put my vote firmly on the NO side of the board.

No, I’m not against safety. No, I’m not against improving our school buses. However, I don’t believe that putting seatbelts in school buses is necessarily the right or best way to increase safety for children on board.  What I do believe is that in the last 23 years of my life I have been surrounded by people and an industry who bleed yellow. These people strive and demand to make school buses the safest they can be and they agree that the research and the testing does not tell us that seatbelts will always save the lives lost in past crashes.

I bring this up because of the recent school bus accident in Chattanooga that killed 7 children. Unfortunately, that accident was the fault of the driver’s poor reasoning and lack of training. As far as accidents go, this one was completely avoidable. The media asked their same questions and the answer they were given is that a local government has passed the first stage of having seatbelts required on school buses as of 2019. I don’t agree but if this makes the community feel better about this accident then they will do what they need to do.

I would have preferred an overhaul on their training program, an overhaul on their discipline program, an overhaul on the staff. They are the ones who failed those children by not following up with the driver and they are the ones responsible for this loss of life. I think the change needs to start with people; in this case the school bus did nothing wrong.

School bus companies needs to invest in exceptional driver training and follow up. This will make a noticeable difference in student safety. 

Chattanooga crash picture from www.abcnews.go.com

For Phil and His Family

Yesterday a 65 year old woman was driving a van in Monticello, Minnesota, and she crossed completely over the white line. In doing so she hit and caused the death of Monticello’s very own Phillip Gregory LaVallee. Phil Graduated with me last year and he was one of the most amazing athletes I have ever seen or had the chance to know.

He said once, in an interview that one thing he thought would be kind of cool to do before he passed was to win our hometowns 5K. Earlier this summer Phil did just that! He even set a record for fastest time! I remember seeing him there and thinking, “holy cow he’s amazing”. My mother and I were excited that someone from Monticello had won this year and she remembers seeing him jogging back after finishing while she was still running. She also thought that he was amazing.

Best wishes to Phil’s family, goodness knows how hard it is to lose someone. especially someone who was so young and full of promise.

To read the original story follow the below link.
Thank You,



IMPACT new design

This story is sorrowful and yet the survivors and the families of those that were lost have taken this tragic event and turned it into some of the most powerful experiences that have affect our nation as a whole. The crash in Carrolton, Ky on May 14th 1988 is a compounded memory for all involved. The terror of the crash, the fight for survival and the bravery they had to recover is a heart wrenching tale that must be told and retold over and over. From one mans ignorant choice a country has mourned and countless changes have been initiated. Those changes being one of the few positive things to come from this event.

The bus had just refueled, the students and chaperons were starting to settle down after a day of excitement. No one thought that a vehicle would be going the wrong way, no one thought they would be so thoroughly encased in fire, and no one thought that so many would be lost. When that car hit the barely protected fuel tank on that old bus, flames shot down the side. A survivor, Jason Booher, remembers this scene vividly, “Chuck, the youth director of the church that sponsored the trip, was sitting in the stairwell, so he stood up, and he was immediately engulfed in flames. He yelled out, “Lord, I’m coming home!” That was unbelievable, to witness something like that.”. At the time of the crash Booher was a mere 13 years old and recalls this event in horrific details.

<p>In addition to serving as assistant principal at Holmes High School in Covington, Ky., Booher is the school’s head boys basketball coach.</p>
Pictured above is Jason Booher a survivor of the 1988 Carrolton crash.

From there the bus which was meant filled to the brim with people and bags and coolers, collapsed into a panicked frenzy. The only exit remaining was the one in the back of the school bus sine the front was engulfed in flames. Everyone scrambled from their seats, piling up on top of each other in a brutal race towards freedom and safety. Sadly only 40 of the original 67 made it off of that bus. A rough 8 or so made it with only smoke inhalation as their injuries. The rest had severe burns, multiple skin graphs and weeks to spend in the hospital. Visual reminders will forever scar them and become a permanent reminder of that night so long ago, of that horror.

This production will show a tragedy and will show how these family, this town, our nation is working to overcome it. The good and the bad side affects from this crash will be sharing in stark details and as  raw memories from the survivors. Take the time to watch this film and think about the impact it has had. This is the link to the movie’s site, click here. The link to the story is here.

Thank You,

Mother Boards School Bus with Intent

Rebecca Sardoni and Stephanie Sardoni illegally boarded a  Toms River Regional School Bus last Friday morning and then proceed to assault two children . The driver of the bus (who remains anonymous) stated that Sardoni boarded the bus at her daughters stop and used vulgar language to describe an incident involving  Rebecca’s daughter and Stephanie’s Grand daughter. From there Rebecca called out “who is Vinny?”.  A boy near the rear of the bus supposedly raised his hand. After which Rebecca Sardoni went to the 9 year old boy and slapped him without saying another word. She hit him so hard that his face smashed into a school bus window. The boys had to be taken to the hospital for treatment for a busted lip and neck injuries.

Pictured above is Rebecca Sardoni.

Rebecca Sardoni call the school on Thursday night to voice her complaint about her daughter being bullied. Together the school official and Rebecca decided that the students mentioned would be spoken to by the school after the bus dropped them off on Friday morning. What these two woman did was illegal and ill founded. Not to mention unreasonably aggressive. To swear and use violence in front of children ranging from the ages of 5-10 years old is beyond my comprehension. These two woman should be down right ashamed of them selves. Even if the boy had been guilty of bullying her daughter, which he wasn’t, using physical force is never the right way to discipline a child in that situation.

Sardoni has been charged with and arrested for the following; simple assault, criminal trespass and terroristic threats.  Stephanie was charged with Criminal Trespass. The school also stated that this was not the first run-in with this parent. All this because she boarded the bus looking to take her daughters bullying matters into her own hands. The boy she hit was not a part of her daughters bullying, she made a mistake and now she will have to pay for acting in such and unreasonable and irresponsible manner. She will also need to live with the fact that she has hurt an innocent child and that above all is unforgivable.

To read the original story click here.

Thank You,

Plans Underway for Annual Driver Training

We have been doing our annual driving training in a one-on-one setting for the last few years so we would have the opportunity to talk one-on-one with each driver.

We’re shaking things up this year.

On August 20, 2013, we are going to run two sessions.  The first begins at 8:00 am and runs until 1:00 pm, and the second begins at 12:00 and runs until 4:00 pm.  Each of the two sessions will be identical; it’s up to bus drivers which option to choose.

We’re going to set up a bunch of booths and training stations in the parking lot.  Drivers will be paired in groups of two or three and will be assigned a starting point and assigned a path.  They will collect a token at each booth, and will be able to enter a drawing for a marvelous (REALLY MARVELOUS) grand prize drawing at the end of the day.

So far we have planned the following stations (a minimum of twelve stations will be set up and a maximum of twenty-five), and have contacted a few area vendors and businesses to (we hope!) get a few unique learning opportunities for our staff:

  • Jami will meet with the small team of drivers to give them their routes and Opening Day information packets.  She will update them with some staffing changes made over the summer.
  • A trainer will demonstrate several different versions of our No Child Left Behind Devices, wheelchair securement, and miscellaneous items relating to pre- and post-trip inspections.  EACH driver will have a chance to secure a wheelchair.
  • A local expert will observe drivers securing car seats, vests, and other restraint devices, and will make corrections where necessary.
  • Shelley will have packets of annual forms, including tax and employment forms, DOT forms, personal information updates, and MVR reviews.  She will also be handing out revisions of three important publications we haven’t revised for five years.
  • A local business will offer chair massages and health and wellness information.
  • A local health expert will offer information about dealing with common special circumstances, like choking, seizures, epipens, and general student information.
  • Matt will offer a mirror adjustment clinic so EACH driver will learn about adjusting mirrors in an unfamiliar bus for the proper positioning to minimize blind spots.
The list is already exciting, but the final five spots haven’t been confirmed yet.  I guarantee they will top off the list in STYLE and SUBSTANCE!

We’ve also contacted a local food vendor to create a fantastic menu so the morning attendees can end their day with a meal and the afternoon attendees can begin their session with a meal.  We’re hoping that creates an opportunity to introduce new employees and perhaps some school administrators and staff.  

We have started working on contacting some local businesses who might be interested in providing some coupons or giveaways for our BUS DRIVER GOODIE BAGS, which are always a big hit and which generate some extra business in our community.
This should be a fun event and a great kick-off to the school year.  
Y’all should stop in for a peek.
Safe Driving!