'School Bus Runners' are the Scum of the Road

This morning on my commute to work, I watched no less than six cars drive right past a stopped school bus - despite the obvious sight of students climbing aboard, red bus lights a-flashing, stop sign sticking out from the side of the bus!!

These offenders - let's call them "school bus runners" - were driving about 50 mph at the time. At least one that I could see was on a cell phone… maybe he was late dropping his own kid off at a school bus stop and was calling his boss to let him know?!

For me this sight was yet another reason to want/demand legal restrictions on the use of cell phones while driving. The UK has done it; why do we continue to let cell phones rule on the road, despite the fact that more than a third of workplace accidents happen on the road, and technological distractions play no small part in those accidents. The iPhone, for example, is fantastic technology... if you're standing still!

In the U.S. an average of 33 school-age children die in school bus-related traffic crashes each year - most of them as pedestrians (ages 5 to 7 mostly) who are hit in the danger zone around the bus either by a passing vehicle or by the school bus itself, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

A couple of weeks ago, a child died in a school bus accident in my area. The debate then was whether seat belts should be required on school buses. Proponents argued that belts are long over due; opponents said school buses are designed with padded benches so beltless kids are "as safe as eggs in their carton."

But seat belts are no protection against the idiots on the road who run through a loading/unloading area of a schoolbus!

What hits closer to a nerve than the senseless death of children? Ever seen the 1997 hit movie, The Sweet Hereafter (based on a novel by US writer Russel Banks) wherein several kids die in a school bus accident? The small town in that film is devastated in so many ways; in real life the devastation would far surpass anything that a work of art can depict.

School bus runners are the scum of the road, up there with hit-and-run felons. On the many levels of Hell found on our roadways, these jerks can be firmly placed in the deepest level. (Dante's nine levels depicted in The Inferno are probably not nearly enough for commuter crimes; by the way, you can test which of the nine levels of Hell you're going to!)

Oh, and Happy North American Occupational Health and Safety Week, which starts this Sunday (May 6)... The focus this year? Transportation Safety!

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