NOT ON OUR WATCH was developed due to a near miss at one of our county schools. A driver had let the students off the bus and was preparing to pull away from the curb when she saw legs sticking our from under the bus directly in front of the dual wheels. She discovered that students who had earlier moved away from her bus had begun "shoving" and one student lost his balance and fell off the curb under the bus. Had he been run over by the bus, several contributing factors would have been cited as the cause. Fortunately we can cite several factors that saved the young man's life. The driver was quick to say that all of the training she had received both as a driver and while she was training to drive bus made the difference. We are just as quick to say that all the training in the world would not have saved the student if the driver had not, on a daily basis, applied what she had learned. Proper mirror adjustment saved the day along with the last check to make sure everyone was clear of the danger zone around the bus. We know that every day our drivers do things that save lives in a very routine way...it's their job.
As a direct result of this near miss we are stepping up our vigilance around our loading/unloading areas. We are looking at ways to eliminate dangerous conditions. We are looking at ways to have students move in and out of the danger zones more quickly while loading/unloading. We are also establishing ways to lessen congestion from other vehicles in these zones. We in Transportation feel we owe it to our students to find and eliminate the dangers before they even realize there was a danger.
The "near miss" accident rendering was recreated for us by Mike McMillian the son of one of our drivers. With his superior artistic ability he makes it very clear how a routine day was very nearly turned into a very bad day. Our driver stated when she came in to report the incident that she would not allow something like that to happen "on her watch" and we are all so grateful that her training and attitude made it just another routine day.