Tag Archives: School Bus Driver Tips

15 Effective Special-Needs Training Tips For School Bus Driver

Regional rules require that students with special needs should be transported only by those who are specifically trained to provide the service. This is because the whole process is quite a difficult one which involves many different activities.

Here are some of the activities:
•    Loading and unloading students using specific procedures
•    Securing student using a wheelchair
•    Knowledge of operating specific equipment
•    Proper communication with students and concerned people
•    Evacuation of students in an emergency
•    Knowledge of regional and state laws pertaining to the transport of students with special needs or disabilities, etc.

Every driver and bus attendants should have these sort of training so that they can transport students with special needs in a secured way and with utmost care to and from school.

Below are 15 tips for school bus drivers to transport students with special needs.

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  1. The first point that you can start with is you can search for ‘transporting students with disabilities’ in Google. The list that is thrown up would contain many websites that can provide help in this direction.
  2. Different states have published their own training manuals on the web. You can use any of these to define a starting point for your training and design program that suits your needs.
  3. One useful resource where you can spot an effective special needs driver training program is the NST specifications and Procedures manual. This can be downloaded from www.ncstonline.org.
  4. Your training guidelines for drivers transporting students with disabilities should be based on those that are dictated by your district policies.

     

    They should also be based on the regional and state legislation on the matter. This would tell the drivers and attendants the need for this kind of training.

  5. It is necessary to familiarize the drivers and attendants with the characteristics that pertain to the different disabilities so that they are able to identify them easily. This is likely to make the training more effective for them.
  6. Companies that manufacture equipment such as the wheelchair that is required to transport children with special needs provide training on different aspects such as loading the wheelchair on to the bus and securing it.

     

    It is essential to subject the drivers and attendants to such training every time whenever there is a new release of the product and/or its securement systems to keep them updated.

  7. The NHTS Administration has published many manuals to describe the use of child restraint systems in school buses. It is a good idea to become familiar with these during the driver and attendant training sessions.
  8. Your special education department is likely to contain resources that teach drivers and attendants how to control the behaviour of children with special needs during school bus rides.
  9. For drivers and attendants to become good at emergency evacuation procedures, it is important to conduct mock drills at timely intervals with help from the local fire department. This would provide them with first-hand knowledge as to how children with special needs have to be handled during emergency situations.
  10. Drivers and attendants have to be taught to keep specific information regarding students with special needs confidential. They have to be aware of the student’s medical needs if any and should be subjected to sensitivity training to best appreciate the condition of the student.

     

    These are important topics that have to be present in the training manuals. At this stage, the drivers and attendants have to be reasonably familiar with the line of practice that is followed in the specific district.

  11. Every training session should be documented for future reference. These documents should find an appropriate place in the drivers’ and attendants’ training files.
  12. The training program should be one such that it draws from the experience of the training veterans in the field of transportation of students with special needs.

     

    This does not mean that the new trainers can be left out. They will bring in their own expertise to the table. They should be asked to train the drivers and attendants about the requirements they envision in the future for transportation of students with special needs. As of now, there is a lot of precious information in this field that is waiting to be shared.

  13. It is important for drivers and attendants to remain updated about the latest procedure, best practices and incorporate new ideas and information.

     

    Trained drivers and attendants should be readers of school publications that cover the needs of students with disabilities.

  14. To make the training more effective, it is the duty of the trainers to make the environment more conducive to learning. The learning environment should be professional for the best outcomes after the training sessions.
  15. Bus drivers and attendants should be aware of student medical emergencies that may occur. They will have to be trained to pull over and call 911, stay calm, stay with the student during the medical emergency, lend emotional support to the student and correctly document the incident.

Conclusion

Bus drivers and attendants that transport children with disabilities shoulder a great responsibility. It can be done safely and effectively only when the drivers and attendants carry out the job in a very professional manner.

For this, the training has to be very effective. Drivers and attendants that are well trained provide the safest means of transport for children with special needs.

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How to Avoid School Bus Accidents

The statistics are unnerving: with over 25 million children travelling to school by the school bus every single day, there are many deaths that occur due to school bus accidents.

In all of these, it has been estimated that over 10% of all the deaths were school children, drivers and passengers. These are more than enough to make us learn ways using which we can avoid school bus accidents and keep our children safe.

A school bus accident is one that involves a school bus vehicle body or the body of any other bus functioning as a school bus. Almost every parent agrees to the fact that transportation of children to and from the school is safer in the school bus than in a car. However, it is up to every school driver to bear in mind that the school bus shares the road with other types of vehicles.

In this article, we have gleaned some precious tips that will help to prevent school bus accidents.

When the school bus is carrying the children, follow these tips:

•    When there are children in the school bus, always maintain  distance from the moving vehicle in the front. The driver should be left with plenty of time when the brake lights of the vehicle on the front start to flash. Flashing yellow lights indicate that the bus is preparing to stop. This gives an opportunity for the drivers behind to slow down.

•    If the yellow or red lights of a school bus carrying children start to flash, and when the driver extends the stop arm, all the traffic behind must come to a stop.

•    In case you are on a road that is not divided, do not pass a bus, from either direction, which has stopped to load or unload children.

•    It is a good idea for every driver near a school bus to be extra alert as one cannot predict the behaviour of children. Drivers of all vehicles near schools should be aware of the lowered speed limits.

There have been many cases where children lost their lives in bus-related accidents when walking on the roads.  Majority of these children are very young, between 4 and 7 years of age. Many a time, they are hit by motorists that are illegally passing a school bus that has stopped to pick up or drop off the students. Otherwise, they are hit by the bus.

Given below are some precautions that will help to keep the children safe.

•    Ensure that your vehicle does not block the crosswalk. This forces children to move around your vehicle when they want to cross the road. This could put them in the midst of moving traffic.

•    When your vehicle is in the ‘school zone’, and flashers are blinking, check all cars nearby are stopped and allow pedestrians to cross the roads.

•    Always make sure that you stop the vehicle whenever a traffic policeman or a school patrol guard holds up a ‘Stop’ sign.

•    Look out for children whenever your vehicle crosses playgrounds and parks or school areas.

Rules for School Bus Students

Some of the rules that we have seen are for the vehicle drivers and school children who are walking. There are also some rules that should be followed by the students on the bus to minimize school bus accidents.

•    Board and alight from the bus in an orderly fashion.

•    Be seated when the bus is moving.

•    Keep head, arms and legs inside the bus throughout the journey at all times.

•    Ensure that you are seated with your feet placed on the floor and facing forward.

•    Keep the aisle area free.

•    Do not distract the bus driver at any cost.

•    Make use of the handrail while boarding and de-boarding the bus.

•    Maintain a minimum distance while waiting for the bus at bus stop.

•    Enter the bus only after it has completely halted to a stop.

•    After alighting from the bus, walk for a distance of at least 10 feet before attempting to cross the road.

•    No student should cross the road from behind the bus.

•    You should cross the road only after receiving driver’s signal.

•    You should be educated about the safety of the school bus.

These rules are to be followed when new school bus drivers are appointed.

•    The school bus driver should be in possession of a commercial driver’s license. He should have an accident-free clean personal driving record. He should also come out free of a drug screening procedure.

•    The driver should be a friendly person and capable of maintaining good communication.

•    School bus drivers are expected to eat healthy, take time off when sick and get enough rest on a daily basis. They should completely understand the bad effects of sleep deprivation.

School Bus Maintenance

•    As far as the school bus is concerned, the upkeep and safety of the vehicle are paramount. It is utmost important to stick to the rules as far as maintenance schedules are concerned.

•    Drivers should inspect the buses on a daily basis and the vehicle should receive mechanical maintenance.

•    The bus should undergo a preventative check-up before a long-distance trip.

Bus Routes

Bus routes should be planned in such a way that they travel through roads that have lower speed limits and have a lot of pedestrian space. Streets that are overcrowded or those that have poor visibility should be avoided.

Construction of the School Bus

•    Ensure that the bus has safe handrails.

•    The schools should not use non-conforming vans to transport children to and from schools.

•    The bus should not be too noisy such that it is a distraction for the driver.  There should be no speaker placed adjacent to the driver’s heads.

Conclusion

The driver, helpers, and the public at large should be watchful and vigilant at all times. There is no room for any complacency whatsoever. Only this can help to control school bus accidents.

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10 Precious Tips to Help You Get Better At School Buses Driver Roles

School bus drivers are charged with the responsibility of getting children to and from school in a secure and efficient environment. In most districts, the face that parents get to see more often than the school principal or the teacher is that of the school bus driver.

In fact, one little mistake at their end can cause major damages. For instance, drivers carrying junior school students must ensure that students are seated safely,  and each child reaches home on time.

Great bus drivers don’t just drive, they care. They take every step possible to give their passengers a memorable experience.

And if they are school bus drivers, they need to have certain additional characteristics since the passengers they are dealing with includes children from all age groups and the audience they are reporting to is varied – parents, teachers, school authorities, and transport authorities.

So, what are the qualities of a great school bus driver? How can you become better in your position and earn appreciation? Here are 10 tips that help you to become a better school driver:

  1. Be Personal

As the driver, you’re representing the school and taking the child’s responsibility in your hands. As your driving skills are crucial to evaluate your performance, your ability to interact and manage the children is also of utmost importance.

It is your job to comfort the parents and make them feel at ease as they board the child on your bus. Parents remember and appreciate your kindness and friendliness. Pass a smile to every child and parent, try to know their names, and build a bond.

  1. Be Patient with Kids

School bus drivers are responsible for kids  of age groups from 3 years to 17 years. Children in this age group can do all sorts of nuisances.

Some can get violent,  some tend to get adamant about seating, and some can indulge in misbehavior with other genders. Driving such a large vehicle and at the same time managing the kids require quite a bit of skill and patience.

If you are someone who tends to lose temper on small issues, being a school bus driver is not the right choice for you. A school bus driver must be able to handle all activities with patience and with ease.

  1. Know What you are Driving

There’s a huge difference between driving a bus and a personal car. A school bus driver must completely understand the difference between the two and should be able to handle it appropriately. A school bus needs to be safe at all times, which means that your driving skills must ensure this.

A trained and experienced school bus driver will have the best judgment when it comes to taking U-turns and crossing past traffic. If you fear such instances, take some time to practice bus driving and stay on the route in different situations and scenarios.

  1. Excellent Route Management

School buses have a specific route with every child getting off at their respective bus stops. The timings on the route are also fixed.

A school bus driver must perfectly follow this route and make sure all happens at the right time. You need to curb yourself from taking shortcuts or alternative routes if that hinders time management and eliminates some stops on the way.

  1. Be a Leader

A school bus driver is in charge of all the students traveling in it. This means that you must be a leader who is willing to take the wheel when things need to be done.

Have the confidence to lead and take necessary decisions when they need to be taken, keeping the overall well-being of the passengers in mind.

  1. Stay Calm Under Pressure

School bus drivers do not have control over what’s happening on the road. So, you need to be prepared for anything and everything like:

  1. Road rage
  2. Traffic conditions
  3. Poor weather conditions

As a driver, you must focus on the safety of your passengers. That must be prime. You must take rational decisions by remaining calm even under situations of pressure.

  1. Be Committed

Just like any other job, it is important that you have a passion for your work and remain dedicated to it. One-third of your life is spent at work and therefore, you must love and respect what you do.

If you are not satisfied with the duty assigned to you, discuss the same with a school authority or opt for another job position.

The best school bus drivers are proud of what they are doing.

  1. Reach the Garage in Time

According to the rules of every school, the vehicle must reach the garage or a particular parking lot after school hours.

Bus drivers must respect this rule and ensure that they reach the designated lot in a timely fashion – without taking too many personal halts or just wandering around as per their choice.

  1. Respect Others

Your duty does not end at carrying students to and from school. While that is the foundation of your job, you must also maintain respectful relations with parents, teachers, colleagues, and other officials. Each of these individuals is essential for success and you must appreciate them with all your heart.

  1. Safety is Priority

Even though this has come in the end, it doesn’t mean that it is of any less value. It is as important as the first tip suggested in this blog.

A dedicated school bus driver will always diligently follow the route and meet all scheduled timings; wear the seat and follow traffic rules; and not over speed, no matter what. Everyone’s safety is the priority!

School bus drivers must understand the nature of responsibility handed over to them and respect the same. This not only makes their job easier but also makes it a lot more productive and fun.

If you are starting your career as a school bus driver or if you are already in the league, utilize these tips and there’s no reason why you wouldn’t become a better school bus driver. You could probably be recognized as the best of the best!

Read More : Great School Bus Drivers – A Short Guide

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Driver Tips to Control Violence on School Buses

 

Children are always naughty and they become wild once they are accompanied with their pals. Just imagine a destination where everything becomes favourable for them. A school bus is certainly the ideal location for your child to unleash their mischief. There is comparatively less monitoring inside the school bus and hence, they utilize this freedom to the maximum.

But is there any way to curb their violence on the school bus? A school bus driver is the only one who can seriously initiate an effort on it. They can easily recognise the mischievous behaviour of each student before any parent or teacher.

Here follows certain school bus driver tips that assists you to control violence on the school buses:

  • Gain assistance of a bus monitor to identify and report children's problems which helps you manage the school bus properly and comfortably. Thus, violence can be prevented in the first place
  • Ensure that you are one of the members of the school bus safety planning program. This gives you an opportunity to inform others concerning the possible risks and behavioural issues faced in a school bus ride. School authorities never ignore your speculations on ensuring student safety as you have greater experience with school bus transportation than anyone
  • At first, go through appropriate training to understand student behavior, their poise, and body language. For example, clenched fists indicate that the child is angry or in a raging state and crouched stance is a preparation taken by them before running or dashing forth. At situations, you can immediately inform school management or transportation officials without much delay
  • Seek the permission of school bus fleet management authorities to assign front seats for the annoying students or the students who displays problem behavior. As a result of this special allotment, you will be able to attribute first class scrutiny on those students
  • Park the school bus to a safe area and tell other students to stay away from the combatants. If possible, calm the combatants by ordering them to stop fighting. But never leave your seat or move to the fighting area as it can be a mere students' ploy
  • Suppose, a student is holding a weapon in his or her hands, never provoke him or her and risk the safety of other students. Remain calm, never panic, and be watchful. Once you have a chance, park the school bus, call the dispatch or police officials, and handle the situation wisely, without acting as a hero by trying to disarm the student
  • If an intruder attempts to enter the school bus, never allow him to enter the school bus. For instance, hijackers may create paradoxical situations to mislead you such as faking an accident, calling for help, etc. Never give an opportunity to persuade or trap you

Is driver training enough?

Certainly, driver training is essential to ensure proper safety and security for school bus riders. But there are other resources that avoids violence in the school transportation environment. Do you have a presumption about it? A school bus management software helps the school transportation management to plan the routes in such a way that it avoids criminal presence or drug hot spots. Thanks to the technological innovation, as you are able to integrate threat zone database with the routing software, which keeps you up-to-date on new risks. 

With the school bus GPS Tracking system, you can track the real-time location of each student and consequently, identify their wrong doings. In addition, parents and relevant authorities will instantly know whenever a driver deviates from the scheduled route, obtain information on the Expected Time of Arrival (ETA) of the school bus, and student tracking information. 

Above all driver tips can be useful for managing the school bus effectively. The reputation of a school rests in a school bus. Hence, ironically, it is the driver's duty to maintain school bus discipline and protect the credibility of the public on school transportation services.

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