Minnesota School Bus Driver Appreciation Day is Feb. 22
So, you've never heard of Minnesota School Bus Driver Appreciation Day? Of course you haven't; we haven't had one yet. The first is coming up in a few days. In a State of Minnesota proclamation signed by Gov. Mark Dayton, Wednesday, February 22, becomes the first School Bus Driver Appreciation Day.
As a young lad in school back in Wisconsin, I was the little angel for the most part. Then, put me on the bus and I became a living terror. I can't explain it. I was naughty as can be - climbing over the seats, pulling girls' hair, jumping and running around. Shame on me. I feel bad about it now and just don't have an explanation why my behavior would change from being in a classroom to riding a bus.
There isn't a bad weather day that I don't think about operators of larger vehicles while I'm driving. The snow plow, the semis and the school buses. I'd be scared to death to be behind the wheel of one of those vehicles during bad weather.
We the operators of regular-sized vehicles need to do our part to help bus drivers. The biggest law to remember is to stop at least 20 feet away from the bus when the crossing arm comes down and the flashing red lights come on. Remember how flighty you were when you were a kid. You'd start in one direction and then reverse real quickly if you forgot something. This stopping law means not just if you're behind the bus but also if you are approaching from the opposite direction. This law does not apply if there is a median of grass and such between opposite lanes.
In Minnesota between 2011 and 2015 there were 3,396 accidents involving school buses claiming 13 lives. Keep in mind not all these deaths were school children but also motorists in the other vehicle. Yet it's still a troubling number. We need to do our part and help the school bus operator by obeying the law.
You've had a few days of heads up time, so thank a school bus driver on February 22.