Are you one of those lazy bus drivers that refuse to drive your school bus when sick?

By James Kraemer
To drive a school bus when too tired or sick can bring all sorts of praise from your boss, office staff, and thumbs-up from some of your fellows.

100-percent days worked can bring company praise, notoriety, and awards, including cash awards and yearly bonuses at some facilities.

Over time, you may become known as the bus driver that achieved the impossible.

When you drive tired or while ill, even most parents are happier. Substitute bus drivers are sometimes off schedule or off route, and may not know their passengers and where they board and depart. Mistakes can happen when the substitute driver is unfamiliar with the route.

Mistakes increase the risks.

According to recent reports, on May 11 (2012), substitute bus driver Gwendolyn Rivers, 50, was reading papers in her lap while driving a Galveston Independent School District bus with 28 Ball High School students when it hit and killed George Allen Hackett, 75. Police said Hackett was walking his bicycle on 51st Street to cross Broadway when Rivers made a turn and struck him. Hacket died at the scene. Rivers was charged with criminally negligent homicide. ~

Police claimed in an affidavit that Rivers was unfamiliar with the route. As she left the school apparently headed the wrong direction. Students told her she was supposed to pick up other students at Central Middle School before dropping them. After hearing that, Rivers turned north on 51st Street toward Broadway, the affidavit states. ~ The Daily News

A school spokesman said that Rivers was properly trained with the district and tested through the Department of Public Safety before working as a substitute driver.

Somewhat difficult to argue that this event may have been avoided had the permanent driver been behind the wheel or the sub had actually been familiar with the route.

With allergies causing havoc and the cold and flu season soon to arrive, also comes the decision-making when to drive, and when to stay home and rest.

The decision not to drive the bus while too tired or ill comes with the potential for all sorts of consequences. Everything from an unhappy boss and office staff in a panic to find someone to drive for you, and unfortunately may include some threat if you do not drive. Busybody fellows suddenly morph into doctors and may decide you are faking your illness.

Over time, you may become known as the lazy bus driver that refuses to drive your bus. Everybody else drives when sick and nothing happens. But not you. You stay home over the tiniest thing, probably not sick at all – faking it.

Too much absenteeism and your reliability and often your likeability factor declines, including subtle or not so subtle comments on your employee evaluation. Eventually your job may be on the line.

How much absenteeism is too much is a subjective question, not so easy to answer when the job involves driving children to and from school. Various employer approaches include comparing their absenteeism rates to other employers rates.

School bus drivers might expect help from official sources, but when reading their advice, and after all the warnings comes the disclaimers. Among other remedies the FDA recommends that you "monitor yourself" -- that you learn to know how your body reacts to the medicine and supplements. Keep track of how you feel, and when the effects occur.

Learn while driving?

In addition to the usual that can affect most workers, also comes the reality that school bus drivers transport a busload of pathogens to and from school every school day in what can be a humid environment that bugs love. Vicious bugs that sick children forced to go to school can transmit to other children and to their bus driver. Overuse of disenfects on the bus risks creating a few superbugs.

Perhaps the best advice out there when too tired or when sick -- Stay Home!

That may not be possible for some for a variety of reasons, including plenty of mixed messages about staying home when pressure from the employer or from self dictate that you must drive. If you stay home your boss might be unhappy with your performance, and if you drive and crash you are made the blame for that. Everyone else bails.

Too much absenteeism on a group level can bring HR to drivers meetings, with warnings that too many absences may have a negative effect on employee evaluations. Sick days or free days provisions that do not count against absences might help with this issue, but not always.

There are times where pathogens are interfering with several routes performance by making more than a few drivers sick, in some cases serious enough that the routes should shut down until resolved. But shutting down routes can close schools, anger parents, and makes no money. And remember how your boss and perhaps HR might respond at some facilities when absences are alledged due to illness, become persistent, and when too many drivers refuse to drive their buses. 

Please comment here in this blog, or at our Facebook  page, if you have any ideas, remedies, warnings, and such that might help our fellow bus drivers maintain safe, professional conduct when they should not drive, or how possibly to be at or near to their best performance when forced to drive.

* * * * Claims to be the leading Internet resource to learn about consumer-reported Side Effects ... "serving consumers, physicians, and healthcare professionals through our public online health portal."

Note: Excellent site to get quick information on various medications side effects from various reporting sources, both from studies and subjective. Includes many over the counter medicines. Beware of the users subjective comments. I took a medicine for chest cold and 15-minutes or so later was waking sideways, could hardly stand, okay when sitting. Discovered that I had an inner ear infection likely from blowing my nose too hard. Cleared that up with a sea salt solution (no iodine) drawn through my nose and the dizziness ended, (Some claim salt from the Dead Sea works better, but could find no difference myself). Was it the cold medicine, or the infection that caused the dizziness? All I can say is that when draining the infection the dizziness stopped within hours, and continued use of the cold medicine was the usual outcome.

Rehydration Drinks: Getting hot out? Take care of your body when driving in a hot bus. .
You can make an inexpensive rehydration drink at home. Follow directions carefully. Do not give this homemade drink to children younger than 12. Rehydration drinks, such as Pedialyte, are designed for children. Adult rehydration drinks and sports drinks should not be used for babies and young children. ~ Healthwise

FDA: Some Medications and Driving Don't Mix

NHTSA: Driving when you are taking medications. Claims most drivers can I still drive safely while taking medications? Again, know the disclaimers in this article and act accordingly.
'Bath Salts' Ban: Law enforcement officials refer to the drugs collectively as "bath salts," though they have nothing in common with the fragrant toiletries used to moisturize skin. Know the symptoms and get help immediately if one of your riders or a fellow employee is suspected of using this dangerous synthetic drug.


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