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High school students in Tacoma, Washington, were riding on their regular bus route when the school bus driver experienced a sudden medical issue. As the driver was losing consciousness, he thought to use the PA system. “Somebody call for help!” A brave group of students immediately took action.

A school bus in nearly full right side profile view entering an intersection with a stop sign posted in the right midground and car nose peeking out of left rear corner
School bus at an intersection | Schatzif via iStock

Two students called 911. A third student left their seat and went to the driver. He took the wheel and engaged the emergency brake, steering the school bus safely to a stop.

A fourth student used the school bus’s radio to reach District Transportation. A fifth held the driver’s head and comforted him.

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department described the honorable actions the students took last December in a recent blog post. The department highlighted their efforts in a special assembly.

The driver was taken to the local hospital and is “doing fine today, thanks to these young people who acted calmly and bravely during an emergency.”

School buses can have various parking brake systems. These include electronic, hydraulic, and air-controlled components. A video embedded below shows one example.

The parking (or emergency) brake lever is on the dash near the steering wheel and gear selector. The knob is pulled toward the driver to engage. The bus makes a loud indicator noise, and the brakes will engage.