KCS enhances school bus safety for new school year

Buzz Thomas, Knox County Schools interim superintendent, announced new safety measures for school zones and bus transportation.

Each bus will have radios and two cameras, while KCS has conducted safety training for bus drivers.

“In fact, we now have a full-time safety trainer,” Thomas said.

“We conduct check rides, we now have a school bus ombudsman to listen to parents’ complaints and we are spending more money this year for bus contractors and drivers to make sure they are paid properly.

“Remember that the life you save is somebody’s child,” Thomas added. “We’re working to create the best schools in the South and we can’t be the best schools if we aren’t safest schools.”

Knox County Sheriff’s Office and KCS remind drivers in Farragut to slow down, share the road and pay attention at school zones.

With children out on roadways and walking to bus stops and to school, officers can be expected at school zones.

“We always pay particular attention to our school zones and have officers in the area,” Martha Dooley, KCSO director of media relations, said.

“School zones are a priority for our traffic division, and when children are present, we need to pay attention,” Lee Tramel, KCSO chief of operations, said. “Officers will be doing enhanced patrol during school times. When those lights are flashing, pay attention. It’s easy to get distracted.”

“We work year round to make sure our kids are safe,” Eddie Biggs, KCSO chief deputy, said.

Drivers also are reminded they must stop when the bus “stop” sign is out. That law also applies to highways such as Kingston Pike.

Tramel said failing to stop for a school bus is a Class A misdemeanor carrying a $250 fine.

“It’s enhanced at a school zone, so [the penalty] is more than for just running a stop sign,” he said.

Drivers also are encouraged to focus on driving and avoid distractions such as smart phones.