State: Don't drive school buses through standing water

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STANFORD, Ky. (WKYT) - The Lincoln County school bus driver who drove through standing water Tuesday morning was back on the job Wednesday. The Lincoln County Schools transportation director said the bus garage manager rode along with him. State and federal guidelines tell school bus drivers not to drive through high water, whether it is moving or not.

Lincoln County Schools Transportation Director Donnie Leigh said the incident happened Tuesday morning as children headed to school. He said the bus had just traveled down Harris Creek Road and was on its way back, when it encountered standing water.

"He stopped and did some considerations, looking for other options," Leigh said.

After a few moments, Leigh said the driver decided it would be safe to continue on because he knew the road and the water was standing, not rushing. The bus continued on safely. No one was hurt.

The Commonwealth of Kentucky School Bus Driver Quick Reference Guide says, "Do not attempt to drive through standing water with a school bus. Know your route and the areas where flooding may occur. Have an alternate route if this should occur. Inform the transportation department in the event a road is blocked and before an alternate route is used,"

A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration school bus driver safety guide says, "You should NEVER go through water on the road, whether it is standing or moving...Even if you are familiar with the roads, don't drive through water on the roads. You can't see the danger. There may be debris, tree branches, or power lines in the water. The roadway or bridges may have washed away,"

Leigh said the driver should have tried to contact the office, but didn't. He said communications in that part of Lincoln County can be difficult, neither cell phones nor radios work reliably. He said they may look into putting in a radio repeater in the area.

Someone watching the bus drive through the water took a picture and posted it to Facebook. The picture was shared across social media and people expressed anger on the Lincoln County Public Schools Facebook page.

Leigh said the transportation department was treating this as a lesson to all its drivers. He said that driver was fairly new and had been with the department since early this year. He said someone will ride with the driver fairly frequently.

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