Buster teaches bus safety

Published 4:56 pm Monday, October 1, 2012

Students at Meadow View Elementary School in Alabaster watch a Buster the Bus presentation on Oct. 1. (Reporter Photo/Jon Goering)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Kids at Alabaster’s Meadow View Elementary School frequently cheered and burst into laughter Oct. 1 as a small animatronic school bus sped around the school’s lunchroom.

The assembly was the first of several Buster the Bus and his operator, Bryan Nash, have planned for Shelby County schools over the next several weeks. Buster’s tour was funded with the help of donations from state Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, and state Reps. April Weaver, R-Brierfield, Mike Hill, R-Columbiana, and Mary Sue McClurkin, R-Indian Springs.

During the MVES visit, Nash controlled and used a headset to speak through the bus as the lunchroom full of enthralled students looked on.

Nash and Buster shared many bus-safety rules, many of which involved the “danger zone,” which Nash said encompasses a 10-foot area around the bus.

“Ten feet around the bus is the danger zone because the bus driver can’t see you,” Nash said. “We have to be very careful.”

Nash said 12 accidents have occurred in the “danger zone” in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee over the past two years. Behind the bus is the “worst danger zone,” Nash said.

To help promote safety in the “danger zone,” Nash told the kids to always arrive at the bus stop five minutes early, line up with the tallest person in the back of the line and wait until the bus driver tells them it’s OK to board the bus. Nash also told the kids to always stay seated while on the bus, and to never stick their arms or heads out of a bus window.

Nash said not all automobile drivers follow the law when the buses are stopped with their flashing stop signs out.

“Everyone you know who drives a car, tell them to please stop when a bus is loading or unloading,” Nash told the kids.

Shelby County Schools spokeswoman Cindy Warner said bus safety is important to the system, as about 70 percent of Shelby County students depend on buses to get to and from school every day.

“At some point, everyone rides the bus, even if it’s a field trip or an athletic event,” Warner said.