Deaths, Pass Violations Show Need for Better School Bus Safety

bus driver behind the wheel

Gabby Mair, who was 12 years-old, stepped off the bus for the last time in June 2010. She was hit by a car after she got off the bus. Gabby was a middle school student who loved being outside and playing soccer. She is missed by many. Gabby’s father, Don, vividly remembers the day he received the tragic news.

He received a call from his daughter’s cell phone number. He thought it was his daughter, so he answered it and said “Hey baby.” However, the phone call was not from his daughter. It was from someone who saw his daughter be hit by the car. The caller told Don that he needed to get to the hospital as soon as possible.

Don’s daughter died the following day. Ever since then, he has been on a mission to prevent other children from dying in the tragic manner his daughter did. He stated that there are many things Florida can do to improve school bus safety. For example, the state of Florida can enact stricter penalties for people who pass stopped buses. Cameras can also be placed inside of buses in order to catch offenders. Additionally, more guidelines can be passed that state where school buses are allowed to stop.

It has been over five years since Gabby’s death, and Florida still has not changed school bus laws. Don has decided since legislators will not help him, he is going to run for the legislator position. Don is planning to run against the incumbent. The incumbent promised to help Don, but he has not done anything to help ever since he got elected.

Thousands of cars in Florida passed stopped school buses every day. Drivers are also seen talking on their phones, texting and being oblivious to what is going on. Unless law enforcement officers are present, it is nearly impossible to catch offenders.

Other states have already stiffened penalties for people who pass school buses. They have also placed cameras inside of school buses. Don has stated that legislators are too busy being focused on other things instead of school bus safety. Republican David Santiago promised Don that he would get Gabby’s law passed, but he has not done anything.

Even though David has not passed Gabby’s law, he agrees that more has to be done in order to improve school bus safety. Don does not know if cameras would have prevented his daughter’s death. However, he is determined to fight until the laws are changed.

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