Bossier Schools transportation director says school bus safety an issue

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Part of a town hall meeting hosted by the Bossier Parish School Board

Lt. Col. David Hadden, director of transportation for Bossier Schools, noted the safety challenges faced by his bus drivers at a special meeting Tuesday.

Hadden’s presentation was part of a special town hall meeting hosted by the Bossier Parish School Board to discuss transportation, nutrition, and planning and construction.

Hadden noted that with traffic congestion being an issue for commuters in the morning, his bus drivers face those same challenges.

“If you want to make a left hand turn in Bossier City in the morning and you’re not at a light, it’s probably not going to happen,” Hadden said. “No one is going to let that yellow bus in. And they certainly don’t want to get behind it because they will be late for work.” 

That leads to safety issues among hurried drivers.

Hadden noted that on Barksdale Boulevard alone, one bus has turned in 60 complaints of drivers passing a stopped school bus with its warning arms out.

Hadden added that his department is working closely with law enforcement to help catch violators and protect the children.

“Law enforcement has set up opportunities to prevent that from happening. We’ve even had a State Police officer on our bus. He drove on our bus for five minutes and saw seven deviations,” said Hadden. 

Hadden also revealed that the system runs 232 buses per day at about 700 routes. 

Within the 2019 school year, Bossier Parish school buses have 4,644 bus stops. That number has dropped some compared to the 2018 school year. In the 2018 school year, Bossier Parish had 5,466 bus stops. 

Hadden also noted that by next year, about 70% of the buses will be air conditioned, a 10% increase over AC buses this year.

“Other than North Desoto, that’s the best in north Louisiana,” said Hadden.

The school board hosted the town hall meeting at the Bossier Instructional Center on Airline Drive in Bossier City to give the community insight into the inner workings of K-12 public education and day-to-day challenges of the departments featured.