The Driver and the Eclipse

Schools across the nation went and edited their days so the eclipse that happens once every hundred years or so in our region could be accounted for!

A wide range of things occurred that day. Driver of most companies stayed off the road to ensure safety, schools altered their days to reflect half days, cancellations,  and celebrations!

One such celebration invited the schools drivers to their events! Come county schools near Atlanta invited their drives to the viewing and insisted that so long as the routes were on time there was more then enough eclipse to go around!

Child Dies in Daycar Van

Heat stroke is a killer.  People like to laugh and kid around about heatstroke being a “meh” sickness. It is not “meh,” it is deadly.

Although this is not strictly school bus related it does come in to partial play.  Schools do not always use school buses to transport children to and from school. A good amount of districts will use vans in special education situations. They use them for a multitude of reasons but one being that the students are easier to control in  a van. They can be buckled or harnessed in, there is a much smaller count, and they have less distractions that can be upsetting to certain special needs.

Van’s have many positives but can be just as deadly is not used properly. A school bus can have a “No child left behind system installed”.  Most of the buses these days do. Vans have no such system as of yet. They have to be checked by reminder or habit and not out of warning or need. It is dangerous because humans are not perfect. We get distracted by what comes next and when your sure you dropped everyone off, why check to see if there is anyone on board.

Mistakes can be fatal and van in schools or used to transport public children should be required to have a safety check!

Wheel Chair Security

Last year I covered an incident where a handicapped girl in a wheel tipped over and smacked her head on the seat next to her. She then rode tipped over for three minutes until the driver reached her home. At which point the driver and aide righted her and helped her off.

Her mother is suing the school district for her daughters injuries and this has resulted in some serious wheel chair safety talks.

Obviously more then one thing is wrong with the above situation but Darren Reaume, national training manager for a wheelchair restraint system points out a big one, the proper training just isn’t there.

Wheel chairs come in many shapes and sizes. That means that knowing how to properly secure any chair is a very big deal. The news went on and noted that the chairs wheels weren’t locked, well when the chair is properly secured the wheels being unlocked does not matter. Shows what they know and where our training is lacking. School bus drivers need to secure the chair itself, not the wheels.

Proper training would have prevented such an incident and proper training is what we need going forward. The media should not be telling us how to do things, we should know and act before something like this occurs again.

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

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,