Safety Training for School Bus Drivers
WESLACO – Several children involved in a school bus accident and taken to the hospital are currently recovering at home. The driver of the bus involved was cited for failure to control speed and later dismissed by the district.
Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District is now focusing closely on their school bus driver training.
Weslaco ISD school bus driver Mateo Solorsano started to transport students 27 years ago.
"This is my baby right here, I keep it clean,” said Solorsano referring to his assigned bus.
He starts his day at 5:45 in the morning.
"We try to be here alert, you know what have, a good night’s sleep and be ready," he said.
Before the students are picked up, Solorsano must conduct a pre-check of the school bus to make sure the seats are secure, sirens are working and the two-way radio is functioning.
"Every time we talk to them, this is our mic. We just talk to them and wait for their response,” he said.
Solorsano said the most important measure to check is the students.
"The consequences are always there. That’s why we always have to be 100 percent sure of what we’re doing. You know what; it always starts with us in the morning, how we present ourselves to the first student in the morning. That’s the way the child is going to have that impression also,” said Solorsano.
Solorsano drives one the newest buses in Weslaco ISD’s fleet. He said cameras watch the drivers' and students' every move.
"We’re protected, not only for our safety but for the kids’ safety. Sometimes something happens on the bus way back there and we can't see it because we're driving, but that camera on the back is going to show us what really happened,” he said.
Department of Public Safety Lt. Johnny Hernandez provides training for bus drivers every year.
"We emphasize on the danger factors of loading and unloading, the danger zones around the school bus when it comes to distractions on the school bus, and we emphasize of how the conditions of the driver should be incumbent to the routes,” said Hernandez.
Solorsano said bus drivers are responsible for driving and your children. He added other drivers also need to pay attention.
"One of the things we encounter more is people not paying attention to the road. Other cars out there whether we'd be loading or unloading. The cars usually are not paying attention to us the bus drivers,” said Solorsano.
He hopes school bus drivers make the right decisions.