Law Mandates Safer Bus Rides to School

Law Mandates Safer Bus Rides to School
By: Arnold Wyrick

The start of the new year marks the beginning of a number of changes on board school buses, and other public buses in Illinois.  One of the new laws in Illinois for 2008 mandates that all buses have a passenger alert system on board.
The system requires the bus driver to walk the aisle of the bus before shutting off the engine and parking the vehicle.  If they don't disengage the system before leaving the vehicle, an audible alarm sounds until the system is reset.
"It's pretty much checks and balances to bring about a little more responsibility and accountability.  I think it's a good thing," said Paul Deering of Carbondale.
Bus drivers are now going to have even more eyes upon them when out on the roadways.  All buses must now be posted with the name of the company that owns the vehicle, and a phone number that other motorists can call to report erratic driving behavior by the bus driver.
"Well, it would make the drivers a little more accountable.  If they felt like it was easy for them to get reported for erratic driving, they would avoid it hopefully," said Doug Simmons of Anna.
"It's a safety measure and you really can't go wrong on that.  We do have some bus drivers that seem to fly down the road, taking chances with children's lives.  And there's no seat belts on those buses," said Jim Ramsey of Carbondale.
 Illinois' lawmakers and parents hope the new signs and passenger alert systems mandatory on all buses will keep children and others safer in the new year.