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How to minimize school bus distractions

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Question: Dear Trooper Grabow, I drive a school bus and have expectations from parents, the school, the bus company and myself. I transport 50 students ages four and a half to 18, with an equally wide range of personalities. I have had an assault occur along my bus route, the cutting and damaging of school bus seats and property, and a first grade student that writes sayings on school bus property that might be heard at a construction site. How do I prioritize to minimize distracted driving in my line or work?

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Answer: Let me thank you for providing your service of transporting what I believe to be the world's most precious cargo — our children. To say you have dynamic distractions would be an understatement. First and foremost is the traffic safety that you are responsible for - getting the students to and from those destinations. As busy and distracting as it can be, it is best to focus on what we CAN control. I'm sure your bus company and school district have policies on how to deal with these other issues you mention and would encourage you to do that, along with common sense. If something needs to be tended to immediately, find a safe place to pull over and park completely off the road, as to not create a hazard. Activate the warning or emergency lights as needed and provide the attention, as required. Let me again thank you for the job you do.

Parents, talk to your children about school bus safety for both on and off the bus. Kids need reminders, too. When on the bus: stay seated, listen to the driver and use quiet voices.

If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Trp. Jesse Grabow — Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205. (You can follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or reach him at, jesse.grabow@state.mn.us).

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