Just seconds after an Iowa state trooper pulled over to help a broken-down school bus, a semi sideswiped it and barely missed hitting him. None of the 40 students aboard the bus were hurt.
Setting stop-arm fine amounts that drivers will take seriously is important. But if the penalties become too steep, do they become ineffective? For example, Iowa has seen more violations pleaded down or dismissed since increasing fines.
Iowa’s Charlene Beaderstadt drove school buses for 30 years before retiring. Four months later, she was back on a yellow bus, this time attending to special-needs students.
School bus drivers must learn how to judge other traffic and blend their stop arms into the traffic flow.
Johnston (Iowa) Community School District already has cameras on two of its 75 buses, but may equip the whole fleet with them after a driver was charged with assaulting a special-needs student.
Police in Iowa allege that an SUV driver was intoxicated when he crashed into a school bus carrying 32 students. The bus rolled around and landed back on its wheels.
Police say that when a 15-year-old passenger failed to follow the bus driver’s instructions, the driver pulled him out of his seat and struck him. Other students captured the incident in cell phone videos.
Chris Darling steps into the role, succeeding Owen Freese. Darling previously oversaw transportation at Fort Dodge Community School District for two decades.
The Iowa bus driver brought students she had already picked up to school, but didn’t complete her route, possibly due to frustration with constant route changes. Another driver was sent out to pick up the rest of the students.
After nearly 30 years in the school bus industry, Thede will step down as Indianola Community Schools’ transportation director in September.
The state’s top pupil transportation honor goes to Paul Heide, the recently retired transportation director for Storm Lake Community School District.
Freese has worked in the industry for nearly 30 years as a local director and mechanic, a state school bus inspector and executive director of the Iowa Pupil Transportation Association.
Data show the rate of school bus stop-arm violations being pleaded down or dismissed has more than doubled in Iowa since Kadyn’s Law was adopted in 2012 to stiffen penalties for illegal bus passing.