School bus driver shortage amidst uptick in bus accidents

South Carolina News

AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF)– After recent accidents across the CSRA involving school buses, NewsChannel 6 spoke with a driver about how to properly drive near school busses.

Rashad Roland is the Transportation Supervisor for the South Aiken Area. He says he fell in love with the idea of driving a school bus in the third grade.

“The flat nosed bus as you see back there, that’s what made me enthused about busses,” Roland said. “And then when I became older, I ended up driving a bus and eventually now I’m a supervisor.”

He says his biggest responsibility is student safety. but there’s so much more to the job.

“We’re the first face that the kids see from the school district each day, and we’re the last face,” Roland said. “So we’re a very vital part of their day, not only getting them to and from school, but a lot of them see us as like their mom or their second dad.”

When it comes to getting students safety to and from school each day, he says we all have a part to play.

“We’re on the road just like you guys. Let’s all share the road,” Roland said.

A big part of sharing the road is properly stopping for the bus when they’re picking up and dropping off students.

“Once we get to the stop, the stop arm goes out and they turn red. That’s when you’re supposed to stop. But a lot of people see those yellow lights come on, they speed through them. Don’t do that. Just wait for the bus to load those students safely,” Roland said.

If you rush a school bus stop sign in South Carolina, you’ll get a $1,000 fine and points on your license.

“It’s a serious offense if you do get caught. Six points is a lot of points off your license,” Roland said.

Aiken County is no exception to the national school bus driver shortage. The school district has over 30 vacancies.

“While we’re on the roads, just be patient with us because we are out there a lot longer now,” Roland says.

If you’d like to become a school bus driver for the Aiken County School District, click here. Starting pay is $13.86 and benefits are available.


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