From the Dallas Morning News, Letters to the Editor, Oct 14, 1998
A thankless job
Driving a public school bus must be one of the most frustrating, hazardous and thankless jobs in America! How can any driver guide one of those behemoths through city traffic and at the same time try to control the behavior of a group of middle-school thug passengers - children who know that no matter how despicable their actions, their parents will defend them?
I haven't seen the film of the Fort Worth school bus incident, and do not know the details of the episode, but my heart aches for the driver who was fired because she could not - or was fearful of trying to - stop the misbehavior.
How about making it mandatory for any parent, who has a child riding a public school bus, to spend one week each school year riding shotgun on their child's bus? The parent would, of course, be required to keep order among the students. After a week most parents would be much less eager to rush to the defense of their darling delinquents.
This is one of those places where I want to insert my own comment, or "pet peeve", if you will.
Driving a school bus has intensified my awareness of vehicles that drive in low-light conditions without turning on their headlights. At Durham School Services, the school busses are required to drive with their headlights on AT ALL TIMES! I have developed the habit of driving my personal vehicle the same way. I'm sure that all of us have at one time or another left the lights on when we left our car only to find that the battery has died while we were away. I'm sure that is what prompts many people to drive without headlights when they can see where they are going and don't need the light to see.
What does not seem to impress people, however, is that headlights are "to be seen", not just "to see". Think about your own experiences while driving. Have you ever been surprised by a vehicle "appearing" out of a deep shadow on a sunny day? How many times have you had to look twice to see a light-colored vehicle seeming to appear out of nowhere when low light conditions have blended it with the background. At first glance the road appeared clear and on second look you saw a vehicle approaching. Wouldn't it be much safer if you saw the vehicle at first glance because its headlights were on? While it is sometimes a nuisance to turn on and off our headlights when the sun is shining or when we can "see perfectly well", consider that one time when an accident or death occurs because someone, you or the other guy, missed seeing the vehicle in their path.
And just to beat the point to death, I want to remind you to remember that many drivers are doing more than driving their vehicles. They are talking on cell phones, doing their makeup, reading maps, and many other things. We should all do everything we can to insure that those drivers cannot miss seeing us. No matter what they are doing.
Last Edited on 02/9/13 03:08