Distracted Driving Causing School Bus Accidents? - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Distracted Driving Causing School Bus Accidents?

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More Davenport school buses are getting hit, and distracted driving could be to blame.  

So far this school year, three accidents in the last 30 days involving busses full of students have happened in Davenport. Last year, there were 25 accidents as buses transported kids to and from school, ranging from fender benders to serious crashes. In 2010, there were 32 accidents. 

The accidents are spread out around town, but bus drivers say there are certain problem areas where accidents are more likely to happen.  

"Right now it's almost impossible for two-way traffic to safely navigate Pleasant Street," Bus Driver Tim Longoria says of the Locust-Eastern area where Sudlow and Washington Schools sit. 

Longoria has been driving school buses in Davenport for 15 years, and every day he navigates pedestrians, oncoming traffic, and tight turns, but there's one extra thing he has to look out for to keep the kids on his bus safe. 

"At least half the people I see even in school zones when they're dropping or picking up, they have their cell phones to their head," he says. 

Bussing managers say most of their accidents typically have distracted driving in common.

"They're texting, they're on their phones, they're in a hurry, things like that," Durham Bus Services General Manager Curtis Wheeler says, "They're messing with CD players, or iPods."

Add to that problem areas with high traffic and narrow roads, like Brady and Division Streets or Pine Street, and drivers are more likely to get in an accident with a bus. 

But drivers say a little extra space can go a long way.  

"A lot of people aren't giving us enough room to make the maneuvers we need to safely make," Wheeler says, "The number one accident we've had this year have been cars running into the back of our busses." 

Drivers recommend having a four second space cushion between you and the bus, being patient, slowing down, and of course, putting down the phone to cut down on accidents. 

"We do everything we can, we've got that commitment to safety, it's our top priority," Wheeler says, "It comes down to we're transporting kids."