Bus Driver Responds To New Police Crackdown

bus brkhl_tls_Chief Lawson,
I would like to address two things you said in your video. In no way do I condone drivers speeding through developments or streets in general however the blame for their actions should not be placed squarely on them. The bus services bid for runs and assign them to drivers, sometimes they bid and win contracts from the BOE for two runs within the same hour and then give both runs to one driver rather then dividing the runs between two drivers. This causes the driver to be responsible for completing two runs with only enough time to do one safely. If a driver complains to the company they are told (threatened) to get the job done or they will find someone else to do it.

My point is Chief, it’s easy to blame the drivers but if you want to solve the problems you need to work with the BOE and the companies to ensure drivers are given adequate time to do routes safely by not pushing multiple runs on a driver within an hour if it can’t be done safely.

The other issue is photographing students. I don’t see why it’s an issue but while I have never been asked to do so, again company leadership sometimes instruct drivers to take photo’s of children misbehaving as proof for write-ups so that action will be taken by the BOE.

I hope by bringing this to your attention maybe you can help drivers do their job safer by fairly targeting company management and BOE in addition to the drivers. Most of us try everyday to do the best job we can transporting Lakewood students in spite of whats thrown at us and the public’s clear lack of appreciation and generalizations about drivers.

We would appreciate some equity in your crack down.

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  1. This driver make a good point
    “If a driver complains to the company they are told (threatened) to get the job done or they will find someone else to do it.”
    this sure is not an acceptable reply to a concern where the sfety of children are concerned ~ it paints a picture of the only thing important here is $$$$$$$$$$$$ as far as the company is concerned .
    Maybe its time to look elsewhere for service if this is their attitude.

  2. “If a driver complains to the company they are told (threatened) to get the job done or they will find someone else to do it.”

    I think this type of problem is true for the employee in almost any type of business.

  3. Hey guess what….. If the police crack down on all the drivers than the bus company managment will not be able to pressure the drivers, because they will not be able to find any other drivers that can do the run quicker…..

  4. To the driver,
    and what is your exuse for talking on the phone….Does your company force you (and threaten)you to do that also?? why do you always blame somebody else??? just drive carefuly…

  5. to parent says says:
    November 24, 2010 at 5:26 pm
    To the driver,
    and what is your exuse for talking on the phone….Does your company force you (and threaten)you to do that also?? why do you always blame somebody else??? just drive carefuly…

    Why does everyone seem to want to bring up an issues that is not relevant to what the context of this article is about??
    No where does this driver speak about it being OK to talk on cell phone, the context of what is written talks about speeding and the routes that are assigned to the drivers.
    As far as that issue goes there is no justification for it , Just as was stated already if enough drivers get issued tickets for this violation maybe the company will get a hint .

  6. While I am sympathetic to the drivers for having a very tough job, the point that the driver brings up is very weak at best. It’s totally irresponsible regardless of whether or not they have double runs. You are entrusted with our children which are the most precious things that we have and you are giving an answer to the careless way the bus drivers drive. Not all drivers are bad but there are many that leave alot to be desired. Passing other cars and buses, stopping on a whim by just putting on red lights, stopping to pick up a student and then shmoozing for 2 minutes while everyone has to wait, these are just some issues aside from speeding and cell phones and right turns on red which is a totally different shmooze. If you are driving a bus with children either stand up to the threats or don’t drive. THINK OF EACH AND EVERY CHILD AS YOUR OWN.

  7. This driver is totally wrong and should be fired. It’s the drivers sole responsibility to drive the bus safely and to insure the safety of the children. If the driver causes an accident or breaks the law they will be the one charged and not the bus company. The video posted on the scoop last week showed a bus improperly passing another vehicle, cutting off another vehicle and almost causing an accident. The actions of the driver on the video was unsafe and stupid. The drivers aggressive driving may have saved 10 seconds of time. I support Chief Lawson and the Lakewood Police 100% and I hope the crack down on some of the unsafe bus drivers. There are many fine bus drivers in Lakewood and there are some that I wouldn’t want driving my children.

  8. To bus driver. Yes exactly, why r u any different. What if my boss needs me to hurry. I still can not break the law. & u have kids in the bus, so if anything u should get a double ticket.

  9. I think the township should look into owning their own busses then they will have a better handle on the situation. Other school district in the adjoining towns own their busses why cant we.
    For all the money we are paying these bus companies, we could definately bring some money back to the town by owning our busses.

  10. for those of you that don’t remember, the school district DID own the buses and was in control….. guess what…. some one fired all the drivers and sold the buses because it would save money…. tell me how did that work out?

  11. I truly love the comments coming in on this. If some of you read carefully you would have read and understood that I did not say it’s OK for drivers to speed and that they shouldn’t receive tickets. Bus drivers SHOULD receive tickets but company management is just as responsible for the problem’s going on. I have been a driver many years now and am capable and know the streets well enough to be able to complete my runs without speeding or dangerous driving. However, there are over 300+ school bus drivers in Lakewood and probably half of them have less than a years experience driving a school bus nor do they or have they lived in Lakewood to know where they’re going. In the current economic climate many of the new drivers are coming to companies after being unemployed for many month’s and don’t want to lose their hours or their job after being told get it done or somebody else will. I am speaking on their behalf to try to correct the problems the public has with Lakewood’s bus drivers. If you all want to bury your head in the sand and blame the drivers squarely then the problem won’t end. If for a moment you consider that mangers policies in addressing drivers concerns as well as the hiring and training of their drivers could be improved than maybe we can all fix this together.

    I’m not going to deny the fact that their are drivers that drive poorly and it’s based solely on their attitude and driving habits they bring from their past experience. Truthfully, they have no business driving a school bus and we as drivers would like to see these drivers ticketed and possibly fired as well; they reflect poorly on those of us who do our jobs right! Ticketing these drivers will only solve that problem though, you will still have good (mostly newer drivers) that are pressured by mangers to do things they shouldn’t because they have families and children too and they need to provide for them. You can argue all you want on here that it’s their responsibility to drive safely and it is but it’s human nature to act in self-preservation. So rather than make foolish and off-topic comment’s I’m asking all of you and the powers that be to equally place blame or the problem’s will never be resolved. A poor driver only effects the routes they drive, a poor manager effects all of the drivers and routes their company has.

    I would also like to add that the children’s safety is everyone responsibility, not just the bus drivers. I ask that everyone who reads my article and this comment to reflect on how they drive their personal vehicle around school buses. Just as all of you have concerns about bus drivers, we are concerned about many of you that may be reading this. Everyday impatient drivers blow through school buses red lights, cut buses off, tailgate, blow horns, park where they shouldn’t, these things can be just as dangerous to children’s lives as a speeding bus driver. Some of these things are why SOME (not all) drivers do things like block intersections or streets. Is it illegal, yes, are bus drivers able to be ticketed absolutely, the drivers who do this though are so afraid that one of their students will be hit by a car that doesn’t stop for their red lights that they are willing to risk a ticket rather then a students life. I don’t need to do this because of the runs that I have but while it is illegal and not taught to drivers you can’t argue that a driver doesn’t care about the safety of your children if they are willing to risk a ticket to protect a life. Maybe if people truly reflect on their driving habits or leave a little more time to get where they need to go bus drivers will not need to do this.

    So, in closing feel free to continue to say I should be fired. I don’t have to worry about that because I have a right to freedom of speech and I am responsible bus driver who has never had a complaint against them as well as received several safe driver awards through the years. My purpose in my comment’s are to help solve problems as being a bus driver I have the full prospective; I am trying to give it to all of you so everyone’s children receive a safe ride to and from school.

  12. Very well said, that is why I do what I do to keep ALL children safe. And your right there are a few bad apples that make it harder for the rest of us. I too have never received a complaint but praise, especially if I’m running late, the parents don’t get worried because they know I’m doing my job and they know their children are safe with me.

  13. to wrote the article says:
    You are well spoken ,with facts and true concerns about this situation . obviously if ALL drivers had the same outlook and perception rthis would be a NON Issue .
    I fully agree that upper managemnt needs to take some of the heat here for this problem. Maybe its time for ALLthe drivers let it be know to the management they are going to do their job by the “book” and make safety the primary concern and not time management

  14. I agree with the authors concerns on management being alot of the problem. I had a bus nearly run me off the road literally one sunday afternoon. alittle panic strickened I wasnt sure what to do about filing a complaint. So I followed the bus jotted down the bus co. name and the bus i.d.# I contacted the owner the next day. First off while I waited in the office to speak with the owner and greeted me he first assumed that i was there for a drivers position. Well to make a long story short I left the office with no assurance that the ower was interested in repamanding the driver and a couple weeks later my suspistions were correct. The same driver of that company was speeding down new hampshire ave to pine st and speeding up pine st the same routes as our first encounter happened. So its a given that the bus companies dont care to monitor their drivers bottom line is time is money!! and public safety in whole is being jepordized daily through Lakewood. The one thing the author failed to explain is that these buses are built as well as a tank. And these drivers manuver them as if they were driving their own cars. But one mistake is all thats needed to create a life time of misery for unsuspecting families. We as regular vehicle drivers stand no chance against a school bus. Most school buses dont have seat belts. And most people who drive through Lakewood are dealing with over crowded streets. And theres more school buses through this town then anywhere else in the county. a serious recipe for disaster. So if LPD doesnt crack down on those buses and their companies then expect to read more tragedies involving the companies that are entrusted with our childrens lives. Watch out for bus # is all the advise I can share shes dangerous.

  15. Just to clarify something, busses to have seatbelts, but we CAN NOT force a child to wear it, which is a shame but they are there for those that choose to use them.

  16. “Just to clarify something, busses to have seatbelts, but we CAN NOT force a child to wear it, which is a shame but they are there for those that choose to use them.”
    Maybe its time for laws to be changed and make it mandatory that they ned to wear seatbelts just as you would in your own car . I could never understand why there is no enforcemnet here where therre are so many childrens lives in jepody in one vehicle

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