Sandy Strait school students Piper Strasburg and Jorja Terrett were given an up-close lesson in school bus safety yesterday by driver Darren Goddard of Goddard’s Buses and Janette Craike (right), the creator of the Bus It Safe program.
Sandy Strait school students Piper Strasburg and Jorja Terrett were given an up-close lesson in school bus safety yesterday by driver Darren Goddard of Goddard’s Buses and Janette Craike (right), the creator of the Bus It Safe program. KARLEILA THOMSEN

Steering students to safety

A BLIND spot is not the simplest concept to convey to a seven-year-old but that’s what they’ve been doing at Sandy Strait State School during the past two days.

And the message about school bus safety is getting through.

An innovative and original safety program has been rolled out at the Hervey Bay school this week to educate students about the consequences of wrong behaviour on school buses.

Goddard’s Buses and Wide Bay Transport, who take a combined 3000 students each day, were both on board for the rollout with Queensland Transport and the program’s creator, Janette Craike, the owner of Caboolture Bus Lines.

Ms Craike put the program together in about 2000 when, as a mother of four young children, she had first-hand experience of the dangers.

“I saw how unpredictable they were and saw some of the things they did on buses.”

Melanie Goddard of Goddard’s buses said the impact of bad behaviour on bus drivers needed to be highlighted.

“We are trying to be proactive and sort behavioural issues out. Behaviour is one of the big time spenders for us and it is getting worse. There is a need for this.

“Everybody forgets about the driver. Their job is to get the kids to school safely but they need help to do that.”

Murray Priebbenow of Wide Bay Transit urged parents to get behind the program which Queensland Transport wants to expand across primary schools in the Wide Bay, and also adapt it to high schools.

QT stats show that going to school on a bus is seven times safer than by car.

It is four years since Darren Goddard first approached the State Government about the creation of a support program for school bus operators and yesterday Neil Mackenzie from the Department of Education and Training was confident about the end result. “It’s a hands-on program with a knowledge that leaves a life skill,” he said.



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