3 suffer injuries in a crash involving a Springfield Public Schools bus

Published: Feb. 23, 2023 at 9:40 AM CST|Updated: Feb. 23, 2023 at 6:28 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - A crash involving a Springfield Public School bus that provides special education services injured two people aboard the bus and the driver of the truck who hit it. All three were taken to the hospital with what police termed minor injuries.

According to police the crash happened around 8 a.m. at the intersection of University and Holland in south Springfield when the driver of a red pickup truck ran a stop sign, hitting the school bus and sending it into a tree. The bus driver and attendant were injured but according to Springfield Public School officials, there were no reported injuries at the scene to the five students aboard.

Each year SPS buses transport around 9,000 students over two million miles.

That’s 10,000 miles-per-day.

“Overall we’ve been fortunate,” said Dr. John Mulford, the SPS Deputy Superintendent of Operations. “Our drivers do a fantastic job. When we do have accidents it’s rarely the fault of our driver. We attribute a lot of that to the training that we provide our drivers initially as well as ongoing.”

Currently drivers initially receive a minimum 40 hours of classroom and on-the-job training plus eight more training hours annually.

As most everyone is aware of by now SPS and many other school districts have a hard time recruiting bus drivers.

This year SPS has about 110 drivers with a goal of 135.

But it takes a certain kind of person to be cut out for the job.

“You have to love kids and you need to have a calm demeanor,” Mulford pointed out. “You need to be able to support our students because they come to us from all kinds of backgrounds with all different needs. So just the ability to provide that nurturing support is a key.”

And when it comes to taking on that role, people usually site two major reasons they feel uncomfortable getting behind the wheel.

“A lot of people are afraid to drive a vehicle that big,” Mulford said. “That’s why we have different events throughout the year to allow them to test drive a bus and experience that it’s a little easier to navigate than what they may have thought. The other part is the huge responsibility coupled with managing behaviors of students while transporting them. It’s something that should not be taken lightly but it’s also very rewarding. I tell our drivers all the time that they are often the first-and-last face a child sees so they really set the tone for the student’s day at school and also set the tone for when they’re going home. So what a huge impact they can have on the lives of our kids.”

Mulford also pointed out that the rest of us on the road should understand the possible negative impact we could have on the lives of children by not paying attention when we’re driving.

“The biggest challenge we see today is distracted driving,” he said. “It’s real common to spot somebody on their phone or doing other things while they’re driving down the road. So please pay attention especially when you know that busses are running in the mornings between 6:30 and 9 a.m. and in the afternoons between 2 and 5 p.m. Let’s take care of each other.”

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