Norwood-Norfolk superintendent shares concerns about bus, vehicle incidents

pNORFOLK — Norwood-Norfolk Central School Superintendent James M. Cruikshank is asking drivers to be more vigilant after two collisions with district buses in a one-week span./ppHe reported that in a Feb. 11 incident, one of the district’s buses was rear-ended while dropping students off./pp“The bus was stopped and the red lights were flashing. This was the last drop-off for the middle/high school run. There was one student in the stairwell and one standing on the white line when the accident occurred. The bus had minor damage to the bumper (approximately $400). The other car had significant damage,” Mr. Cruikshank said./ppThe next morning, he said, one of the district’s buses was side-swiped by a vehicle./pp“The bus was on the outside of a curve on Route 47 going towards Knapps Station. An oncoming car — on the inside of the curve — moved into the bus’s lane as the car’s driver claimed to look down. The bus moved over as far as it could without going into the ditch. The car did hit the side of the bus and then careened into someone’s front yard, hitting a house. The car sustained a lot of damage. The bus did not have any visible damage. There were no students on the bus at the time,” he said./ppIn another earlier incident — in late January — a car went off the road as a bus was letting students off./pp“The car went off the road coming from behind the bus. It went off the road where the kid was exiting. It was due to the quick reaction of our driver’s yelling to him and alerting him that the student wasn’t hit,” he said./ppIn all of the cases, Mr. Cruikshank said, the accidents were the result of driver inattention, something he said concerns him greatly because the safety of students is in danger./pp“I am superintendent, but I’m also a dad. The thought of a potential tragedy when these people are not paying attention frightens me to the core,” he said. “Those buses can handle those tough roads. They don’t push it. But that frustrates some people. Everyone gets behind a bus and feels that anxiety sometimes. They really have to focus on what’s the purpose of that bus — it’s delivering our most precious resource.”/ppMr. Cruikshank said a survey conducted locally last year showed there was a problem of vehicles passing buses while their red lights were flashing./pp“I think in that survey it was found, in the short period of time it took place, that 40 cars ran the red lights. In my district alone, I think there were six or seven,” he said./ppFortunately, he said, there were no injuries./pp“So far we’ve been fortunate. We had two students exiting the bus last year. We didn’t have anyone when the bus was side-swiped. Those are fortunate,” Mr. Cruikshank said./ppHe commended the district’s bus drivers for their reactions when an incident takes place./pp“We have fantastic drivers. They are well-trained. They have a 360-degree awareness of danger. That was proven in the first accident when a car almost hit exiting students,” he said. /ppMr. Cruikshank said legislation in Albany, if passed, would allow school districts to add cameras to the ”arm stop signs” of school buses to detect vehicles illegally passing or overtaking a school bus./ppThe “School Bus Camera Safety Act” would authorize the installation and use of photo monitoring devices on school buses to detect and record vehicles illegally passing or overtaking a school bus./pp“We’re watching carefully, Mr. Cruikshank said. “That would be great, and we would look to put those on our buses if it became legalization. When we feel that it’s legally comfortable to do so, we will have cameras,” he said./p
Source: Watertown Daily Times Latest News

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