TYLER (KYTX) - TISD gives CBS 19 a rare insight into the lives of their bus drivers and the extensive training they go through to keep your kids safe.
Jo Blankenship has been driving a TISD bus for almost a year now. She promises, it's not as easy as you may think!
"It's like a mom in a suburban and you've got all the kids in the back partying while you're trying to go down the road and be safe at the same time," she says.
Except in Blankenship's case, she drives 50 kids. It's a skill that comes with a lot of training.
"It was a lot more than I ever thought I would have to do," she says.
"Before we even put a driver behind the wheel they have to take 20 hours behind the wheel training which helps them to get their commercial driver's license," says TISD Transportation Director John Bagert.
After that, he puts drivers through 20 hours of student management training. Then, 8 hours of a certification to take buses on out of town trips.
"In addition to that we also have all of our personnel trained in first aid and CPR," he says.
Even with all that training, accidents happen.
"As soon as we have an accident we stop and secure the bus," Blankenship says. "Then we check on the safety of the students. We call base to make sure they know what has happened, so they can start emergency vehicles in route if they're needed."
"If our driver is found to be at fault, he or she does not get to drive again until they pass a drug screen," Bagert says. "Then dependent upon the nature of the accident, they may or may not go through retraining."
Monday's accident was the bus driver's fault. He turned in front of another car, and has been ticketed. He did pass his drug test, and has been allowed to get back to work.
Even though one accident is one too many, Bagert is confident in his system.
"Transportation on buses is the safest mode of transportation. We don't have that many accidents a year. Most of the time the accidents are caused at other parties at fault," Bagert says.
So that's where the public comes in. To keep students and bus drivers safe, pay attention to the road when you're driving. If you see a bus stop sign out, or lights flashing, stop and watch for children. If you don't it's against the law, and you can be fined.