WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Every day in our state, about 800,000 students ride the bus to and from school. When they get off -- and on -- the bus, the lights are flashing, and the stop arm is out, all in the hope of getting the attention of other drivers. Unfortunately, in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, it’s working less and less.
“In the past two weeks, we have had four buses that have been rear-ended,” said Darrell Taylor, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools transportation director.
Taylor tells FOX8 that in the 2015-2016 school year, 12 drivers have rear-ended school buses. Generally, if students are still on a bus which is involved in a minor accident, they will be unscathed thanks to the hefty structure of a school bus. However, when they are loading and unloading, they are unprotected.
“It’s becoming a major problem, and it’s been a problem all school year,” Taylor said.
The cause, they say, is not a surprising one.
“Of all the problems we’ve got, are people talking on their cell phone, texting and they’re just distracted from driving,” Taylor said.
The solution, in turn, falls into the hands of other drivers.
“I don’t think anybody wants to live with the idea that they hit a student crossing the road,” Taylor said.
It was a sentiment echoed by North Carolina State Superintendent Dr. June Atkinson.
“The bus is yellow for a big reason and that is because you can see the bus,” Dr. Atkinson said. “So consequently, our citizens must be responsible for their driving behavior.”
Even if a student is unharmed thanks to an accident, it doesn’t mean the drivers responsible for the accident will be as lucky.
“Most of the cars, [that] hit the back of a school bus, are totaled,” Taylor said.