LETTER: Plea from a Kelowna school bus driver to slow down

‘I am proud to be a school bus driver…’

To the editor:

I am a school bus driver. Wait, let me start over. I am proud to be a school bus driver. I get to transport some amazing young people to school and back.

They are bright, funny, respectful and sometimes very entertaining. The parents of Kelowna should be proud of the kids they are raising.

I know how frustrating it can be to get stuck behind a school bus on your morning commute but if your little one was on my bus you would be very thankful that I waited an extra 10-seconds for the perfect time to merge or remained parked for an extra moment while I check to make sure everyone is seated and it’s safe to move the bus. I know I move slowly and I hold you up but my focus is on the kids in my care. Please keep that in mind when you see me.

The vast majority of the drivers on the roads are great when it comes to interacting with my bus but I do have a couple reminders for those who may have forgotten.

When my yellow lights are flashing it means I will be stopping very shortly.

Please slow down and keep an eye on me as well as the children who are waiting on the curb. Traffic is free to flow until I come to a stop and activate my red flashing lights.

When that happens the traffic in both directions (remember – that’s both directions) must stop. If you pass me or try to go around me I will memorize your licence plate number and report you.

I’ve got a dozen things to keep an eye on while I am stopped and I don’t need to be worrying about an impatient or distracted driver threatening the safety of the children getting on or off the bus.

Secondly, if you have ever driven a bus or large truck you know how much space I need to come to a complete stop.

I try to keep three car lengths of space between me and the car in front of me. Please don’t view that space as your chance to cut in front of me or use it to try and beat me to the next light. I have purposely left that space to give myself a safe buffer in case I have to make a sudden stop.

Thank you for your patience and understanding when you see a school bus on the road.

When you are stuck behind me or I’ve made you stop because of my flashing red lights please remind yourself of the cargo I am carrying and help me keep your children safe.

Michael Burke,

Kelowna, BC

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