A school bus is supposed to be a safe method of transportation for children. This week, however, that method was anything but safe thanks to a bus driver who simply wasn’t thinking while he was performing his job duties. Mr. Arturo Harris, a 61-year-old bus driver for a Prince George’s County, Md. bus route, left his transport vehicle unattended Monday after needing to take a bathroom break. Harris pulled over the bus on a highway and put the bus in park, without engaging the all-important emergency break. The bus rolled across the road and struck an 8-year-old who was standing nearby.
The struck child was released from the hospital with a few scraps and bruises, even after he ended up under the bus. There were only minor injuries aboard the bus from one student. The bus came to rest halfway down an embankment. Harris was charged with a number of traffic infractions along with reckless endangerment and leaving a child unattended.It’s no doubt that emergencies do happen from time to time. I think the issue here isn’t so much the driver stopped, but that the break wasn’t set.
The driver most likely locked the bus on his way out, making sure the students were safe. Setting the break, though, is a priority. It has to happen. It’s like parking your new car on a 70-degree incline without setting the emergency break. It just wouldn’t happen. There are a number of ways this story could have turned out much worse, granted the ending is not the most superb.
Safety is a bus driver’s priority
When a parent puts a child on the bus in the morning, rarely do they have to think if their precious cargo will be in jeopardy. The premiere responsibility of a bus driver is to ensure students get to and from an institution safely. Bus drivers are responsible for ensuring safety is at the pinnacle, above all else. Now, this fear of safety is usually brought about because of other drivers on the road or children misbehaving on the bus. But when the driver becomes the perpetrator of the unsafe action, worry begins to set in.
No employer can deny an employee a break. However, with a bus driver, they are placed in a unique situation. When the situation is, in a word, relieved, they must remember to follow the proper procedures. Otherwise, they are putting themselves and their precious cargo in danger.