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What you need to know for 04/27/2017

School bus driver puts safety first

School bus driver puts safety first

A Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake school bus driver may spark a new apparel trend with a pair of gloves

School bus driver puts safety first
Bus driver Mike Nally shows off his stop and go gloves Monday while waiting for students at the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake high school. The gloves are used so that students can see the bus drivers signals more clearly in early morning or dusk situations.
Photographer: Meredith Kaiser

A Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake school bus driver may spark a new apparel trend with a pair of gloves that have stop signs on the palms.

Mike Nally said he was concerned last year when the end of Daylight Saving Time was changed from the last Sunday in October to the first Sunday in November and he knew he would be picking up children in the dark for an extra week.

He said he thought a pair of gloves with red and shiny plastic stop signs on the palms would be easier to spot by children waiting to cross a road.

“I do landscaping in addition to driving a bus and I saw these gloves in a catalog,” he said.

“They’ve had a positive response from parents and the kids.”

The black, fingerless gloves were marketed to road construction workers for directing traffic.

Linda Hunt is the mother of two children who ride Nally’s bus and she thinks the gloves are great.

“My son David is in 6th grade and he got on the school bus in the dark when the time changed last fall,” she said. “The gloves give the kids a good visual to focus on, and I think they’re fantastic.”

She said she also has a 2nd-grade daughter who pays attention to Nally’s road crossing directions.

School District Transportation Supervisor Richard Hewlett said he supports the use of the gloves and is willing to buy a pair for any driver who indicates a willingness to wear them.

“When Mike came up with this I did some background checking and asked the transportation director of the state Education Department about them,” Hewlett said.

“They have no problem with the gloves, and I threw my support behind it.”

He said he supports the idea of drivers wearing the gloves, but he can’t mandate their use.

“It’s a voluntary thing. It would have to be negotiated [with the union] if I were to mandate it,” he said.

Hewlett said there are 52 permanent bus drivers and another 23 substitute drivers in the school district.

Nally said be bought his own gloves.

“They were $20 plus shipping and I figured it was worth a try,” he said. “I have five to 10 kids a day who have to cross a road to get to the bus and home again.”

He said children who ride a school bus are taught to watch the driver, who will signal when it’s safe to cross the road or street.

“We point to the child, give them the thumbs up when it’s clear to go and then point in the direction they should cross the road,” he said. “That’s the universal crossing procedure.”

But, sometimes children are distracted and there have been times when children have run into the road without watching for an OK.

“The gloves draw a little better attention to the hand signal,” Nally said. “Even older kids pay better attention because of the red symbol.”

Nally said most drivers are the only adults on their buses and any prop they can use to help children get safely to and from school is appreciated.

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