Bus drivers go to school before school
School bus drivers from Regions 5 and 6 went back to school Tuesday to review bus safety. This is an annual meeting.
The school bus drivers fill about three-quarters of the auditorium at the Blackfoot Performing Arts Center (BPAC).
In the morning, two representatives from the power company spoke about what to do if the bus (or a car) becomes entangled in a power line. Idaho State Patrolman Aaron Aikele spoke about what to do in case of an accident.
"If you are in an accident, rely on your training and your district's policies and procedures," said Aikele. "First take care of your own safety and the kids' safety before you start looking around to help others.
"Stay in the bus unless you see flames and see actual smoke," he said. "We don't want to see kids on the road."
After everyone is safe, then gather information, said Aikele.
If it is a minor accident, "get off of the road," he said. "if cars are drivable and no one is hurt, move the cars.
"Be prepared for what you can do," Aikele said. "Do your best to avoid crashes. Be a defensive driver.
"You owe it to your passengers every day to pay attention," the patrolman said. "You've got to be paying attention. It's important.
Be careful, said Aikele. Be aware of what's going on.
So what did you learn?
Lenna Nelson from Preston has been driving bus for 21 years.
"You always pick up something new at this meeting," she said. "We learn by repetition.
Nelson's takeaway lesson was, "Look ahead. Be prepared; anticipate what other drivers may do."
Peggy Beemer is a supervisor for Teton Stage Lines in Idaho Falls. She has driven bus for 10 years.
"It's always good to learn new information each year," she said. "I learned that I need to be paying attention; paying attention to other traffic.
"I need to be constantly paying attention," said Beemer.
Lyle Cherry from Ashton has been driving bus for 14 years.
"I learned not to touch a power pole," he said. "Stay in the car if you become entangled in a power pole."
Carla Meppen from Firth has been driving school bus part time. This will be her first year driving bus full-time. Meppen said she learned you can still use a cell phone, even if power poles wires are wrapped around you.
Bruce Murphy from Salmon has been driving bus for 20 years.
"I learned how to get off a bus when a power line is down," he said. "Don't walk—shuffle.
"Make sure your feet are touching each other," said Murphy. "If your feet are apart, the electricity could go up one leg and down the other. If your feet are touching each other, there is only one connection with the ground."