Texting while driving puts all of us at risk. How can we expect our children to be safe drivers if we do not lead by example? We must lead by example. Because of that, I’ve written several posts discussing distracted driving among both parents and professional drivers. You can read a few of those posts here:
In recent days, we again saw the deadly toll of distracted driving on our highways. A church choir in Texas was returning from its annual retreat when the unthinkable happened. A pickup truck suddenly veered from its lane and into the path of their bus. The two vehicles collided head-on. According to news reports, thirteen senior citizens from the same church died in the crash. One church member survived the crash itself but currently remains in critical condition from her injuries.
The photographs and video of the crash scene are difficult to view. The vehicles look like mangled pieces of steel destroyed by the impact. But, this was not an accident. It was avoidable. The pickup truck driver chose to disregard completely the safety of others and caused the deadly crash. What choice did this driver make? He chose to drive distracted for miles down the highway putting many lives in danger. He chose to put his attention on texting instead of the roadway.
Distracted driving leaves a path of destruction across the highways of Alabama and all other states. In Alabama, we recently saw a driver receive jail time for a deadly distracted driving crash. In Georgia, a commercial truck driver plowed into a car of nursing students causing another deadly crash.
Reckless drivers and school bus safety. In an earlier post I discussed a new Alabama law aimed at protecting children around school bus stops. The new law allows Alabama school buses to have cameras. The cameras will photograph reckless drivers who illegally pass a stopped school bus. Then, these drivers will receive a $300 fine.
My prior post discusses facts related to the needless injury of children at school bus stops. While I was not aware of any Alabama studies when I wrote my prior post, both North Carolina and Texas had studied the danger. According to the North Carolina study, each day over 3,000 cars in that state illegally pass a school bus while it is stopped to pick up children. A major news outlet has also studied the issue and estimated American drivers illegally pass a stopped school bus more than 13 Million times a year.
Do some cars illegally pass stopped buses because the driver is distracted? Certainly. Do other cars illegally pass stopped buses because the driver recklessly or impatiently chooses to disregard the danger? Certainly. Either way, this tremendously reckless conduct puts our children at needless risk of personal injury or death every day.
School Bus Safety. Each morning buses throughout Alabama carry our children safely to school. Every afternoon those same buses deliver our children safely home. School bus travel is relatively safe. Most often, it’s not the school bus or its driver that creates the danger of injury. Instead, it’s the automobile drivers around the bus who neglect safety and create risks of injury.
The most dangerous part of school bus travel often involves the actual stops where children board or exit the bus. Why are school bus stops so dangerous? They are dangerous because other drivers choose to pass or speed around the bus while children are present. While I’m not aware of any Alabama safety studies related to drivers who pass stopped school buses, the state of North Carolina did conduct a study. And, the results of their study demonstrate the tremendous risks of personal injury or death at school bus stops. According to North Carolina state transportation official Derek Graham: