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Bus Drivers Form Bond With Students

February 20, 2008, 9:29 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Bus Drivers Form Bond With Students
A bus is how 10,000 students get to school every day in Sioux Falls. An accident like the one outside of Cottonwood, Minnesota can have a lasting impact on bus drivers who get to know students while driving the same route every day. 

School Bus Inc. transports 10,000 students around Sioux Falls in its 104 buses every day. The company says it does it's own investigation after an accident, taking pictures of the scene for insurance purposes and for training future bus drivers. 

When school lets out, Jim Shafer steps in to take home dozens of kids from class everyday. 

General Manager of School Bus Inc. Jim Shafer says, "Lot of precious cargo, lot of precious cargo, yep."
Precious cargo that parents depend on school bus drivers to get back home safely. 

Shafer says, "Most of the drivers become grandparents you might say, quote on quote, to the students on the bus." 

So when there's an accident of any kind, Shafer says his bus company wants to make sure it takes pictures and investigates, so future bus drivers can learn how to protect students. 

Shafer says, "We'll take some of those pictures and we'll actually go through particular accidents and say you know this may have been avoided if we could of done this." 

Shafer says if a School Bus Inc. vehicle was ever in an accident as serious as the one outside of Cottonwood, Minnesota, the driver would be put on paid leave, because that bond a bus driver builds with students is something that can stay with a person for awhile. 

Shafer says, "Students on you bus, probably kids that they know, families that they know and now they're gone and the drivers going to have a lot of issues to deal with and maybe never get back on the bus." 

School Bus Inc. says after an accident, it has to write up a list of every student that was on a bus at the time for the insurance company.

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