Shortage of snow plow drivers results in unsafe walking paths for students

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MISHAWAKA, Ind. --- Residents are voicing their concerns about unplowed streets putting students in danger. The conditions have caused some kids to walk on roadways instead of sidewalks.

Scraping snow, salting your driveway, and snow-covered roadways means it's a normal winter in Michiana, but this year residents say they’re noticing plow drivers are taking longer to clear pathways — resulting in unsafe walking paths for kids heading to school.

“Typically in the morning yes. On bittersweet which is a heavy traffic flow of cars and buses and trucks yeah," said Hansen White, South Bend Resident.

Clarissa Finley who’s a student at Penn High School has grown up with the snow all her life, but walking along roadways still scares her.

She says Bittersweet Road was clear on her way into school today, but that wasn’t the case after dismissal.

“Nobody was out over there," said Finley.

I asked her, "Well, did it make you like nervous to walk home?"

"Yeah, it made me nervous to walk across over the truck cause there were like people sliding through the intersection," said Finley.

Snow-covered roadways in St. Joseph County taking longer to get cleared is just another result of the pandemic — as the Highway Division like many industries struggles to hire drivers.

“I know they’re looking for drivers. They’re looking for bus drivers too. If they want to recruit and want to retain they gotta pay more money," said White.

Although the struggles have caused plow routes to change, Finley says being patient and more vigilant is key to remaining safe this winter.

“If you see a car start to stop and like slid maybe like stop and step back and like heads up people that are walking behind you and make sure everybody’s okay," said Finley.

The St. Joseph County Highway Division is currently operating with less than 20 percent of its usual staff.

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