Tag Archives: School Bus Drivers

Master the Skills of School Bus Driver Roles and Be Successful

School bus drivers are bestowed with the responsibility of transporting kids to and from school  in a safe and timely manner. They also take school sports teams and other groups for trips.

This means that apart from their transportation duties, there are certainly other skills that they must possess to be able to successfully perform their roles.

The job of a school bus driver is suitable for those who like driving and working with children. A passion for driving alone may not be enough to do your duties as a school bus driver to the best of your ability.

This is because working with children requires a lot of patience, a lot of responsibility, and a lot of spontaneity.

School bus drivers generally work part-time, for as long as the school is in operation. These drivers are not just vehicle operators since students consider them to be friends, parents trust them with the safety and security of their child, and school authorities expect them to maintain the school’s reputation.

While little formal education is required for this career, a school bus driver must have adequate training and a commercial driver’s license.

SCHOOL BUS DRIVER – SKILLS AND ABILITIES

1. Communication

School bus drivers deal with various audiences – students, parents, teachers, principals, transport authorities, and more. This makes it extremely vital for them to have proper communication skills. School bus drivers must be able to:

  1. Listen to others and ask questions: They must know how to engage in dialogue with students. They must inquire about the child’s overall well-being, inform parents all necessary information and take charge of what is happening on the journey between school and home.
  2. Understand spoken/written information: School bus drivers are given several instructions on a regular basis. They also receive route maps and addresses to ensure every child is dropped off at the right destination in a timely manner. If school bus drivers are unable to follow this information, they will not be able to perform their duties responsibly.
  3. Speak clearly: School bus drivers are sometimes requested to communicate information between parents and teachers. This must be done with utmost care so that messages are well understood at both ends and there is no confusion of any kind.

2. Reason and Problem Solving

School bus drivers must be alert to notice when something is wrong or about to go wrong. For instance, if weather conditions can cause delays, they must be able to use reasoning and draw conclusions as to how time can be managed effectively.

They must focus and not get distracted while performing a particular task. They must follow instructions and arrange objects in a certain order.

If they are transporting school teams for events, they must know how the team’s equipment is to be stored so that there are no damages.

3. Bus Conduct

School bus drivers often need to perform multi-task. They need to watch the road and drive safely. At the same time, they need to monitor the conduct of students on the bus also.

Buses come with large mirrors on the front window making it easier for drivers to keep an eye on the actions of the students. School bus drivers must watch student behavior and stop any hooliganism as soon as it is noticed.

Moreover, drivers must immediately report irresponsible behavior so that necessary action is taken and harmful behavior is not repeated. Drivers must identify these students, their seats, and ensure that they sit in their allotted seats regularly.

4. Vehicle Safety

School bus drivers need to have a clear understanding of the bus’ equipment. In simple words, this refers to the regular evaluation of tires, brakes, tuning signals, and other mechanical equipment.

They must also watch gauges, dials, and other parts of the engine to ensure that the machine continues to run smoothly. School districts generally prepare a checklist that drivers need to fill after conducting basic checks on different safety items.

In case of any issues or operational troubles, the bus must be immediately sent to the workshop for repair while the school bus driver uses an alternate vehicle for transporting students.

This skill of understanding the mechanism of the machine can help school bus drivers go a long way since issues are identified early on and they do not get stuck during the course of transportation.

5. Record Maintenance

School bus drivers must maintain a  regular basis log activity in different categories. This includes the number of students riding on the bus, the absentees, the distance traveled, the route stops, and the time slots.

Furthermore, drivers must record when fuel is replenished, the quantity, and the rate per liter/gallon. School authorities mostly provide private fuel stations for the use of school bus drivers. Logging in this data helps to maintain accuracy in routes.

6. Perceive and Visualize

Vision is an important parameter to evaluate the proficiency of a school bus driver. He/she must be able to quickly and accurately compare numbers, patterns, pictures, letters, or objects.

He/she must be able to read road signs, manage right routes, and avoid any kind of mishaps. A school bus driver must know one’s location and accurately judge the position and distance from other objects in a physical setting. He/she must be able to adjust the relation to self.

7. Patience

Working as a school bus driver requires interaction with children from all age groups and all backgrounds. You must have a lot of patience to manage different tantrums and behaviors.

A school bus driver can never get strict or violent with the children. Parents hand over children to a school bus driver with a lot of trust and confidence.

This trust must be respected. Therefore, work on your patience levels and your child-handling skills, if you wish to succeed in your career as a school bus driver.

The job of a school bus driver does not require a specific educational qualification but it does require several interpersonal skills that you need to excel at in order to be able to master at work. If you think that you can master these skills, there’s no reason you wouldn’t succeed and become the most loved bus driver at school.

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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.

SCHOOL-TRANSPORRT-APP

  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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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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15 School Bus Safety Ideas You Can Share With Everyone

Safety begins at home. All in an attempt for everyone concerned to ensure that students reach their destination safe and sound, parents should play a major role.

They should do their bit in educating kids about safety rules that need to be followed by their wards. Additionally, life with its uncertainties in the form of an unforeseen eventuality caused by an errant motorist may cause a road accident involving a school bus.

For the sake of informing everyone about the safety parameters concerning school buses plying on roads, here are 15 safety tips that are categorized under the heads of those meant for parents and those that are given out to motorists on the road.

Firstly, let us look at the 8-fold safety tips that parents should teach their school-going kids so as to ensure that every school trip is safe. These pointers should then be made public for everyone to pay heed and implement.

Tip 1 : A Yellow Signal Indicates That the Bus is About to Halt: It is the prime responsibility of the parents to educate their wards about the safety signals of school buses. One such explanation concerns the flashing of yellow lights on a school bus. Parents should teach their kids that blinking yellow lights indicate that the bus is preparing to halt.

Tip 2 : Escort Young Kids to Their School Bus Stops: Parents of young kids should always escort them to the pickup points and wait for their return at their designated drop points.

Tip3 : Give Clear Drop Point Instructions to Kids: Elder kids who need not always be accompanied to bus stops should be informed about the safest route to reach home. Parents should insist that their kids who get dropped at their bus stop should either head straight to their doorstep or to the normal after-school destination they are ordained to reach.

Tip 4 : Caregivers to Step In, Filling In for Parents: In the event parents have a change of plan with regard to picking up their kids from the school bus stop, they should keep the caregiver informed about the new plan. Caregivers should then ensure that these kids are not left stranded on the road after getting dropped from their school bus. 

Tip 5 : Educate Kids about School Bus Safety Rules: Information is strength. In line with this adage, it is the duty of parents to educate their wards about the school bus safety rules. One important pointer that should be brought to the notice of kids is to avoid picking anything that has fallen down when they are boarding the bus. They should let their kids know that informing the bus driver about the fallen object can avoid accidents.

Tip 6 : Patience – A Virtue That Should Be Inculcated in Kids: Kids should be taught to patiently wait for the driver’s instruction to board the bus. Kids should wait for the driver’s instruction to cross the street and should avoid hurrying away from the bus after the bus comes to a halt at a drop point. Additionally, they should also be instructed to move away from the danger zone and to wait for the bus in a safe corner, away from the street.

Tip 7 : Better to Be Safe Than to Be Sorry: Parents should keep a watchful eye on what their kids wear and carry to school. In addition to avoide loosely hanging straps that can get caught to the doors, seats or handrails, school bags with strings not tied up should be avoided at all times.

Tip 8 : Good Conduct While Travelling in a School Bus: Parents should teach their kids that they should demonstrate a disciplined conduct while on board. In addition, they should din it in the minds of kids that misbehaving while travelling can lead to accidents. Distracting the attention of school bus drivers can lead to an unsafe environment, causing harm to all the students on board. Kids should also be taught to respect the instructions given out by the school bus driver with a belief that rules are meant for the safety of every student travelling.

Tip 9: Heeding to the Instructions of the School Bus Driver: Obedience is another trait that should be inculcated in kids, early on. While parents teach kids to obey their teachers  in class, they should also teach them to be obedient towards the school bus driver.  Secondly, Let us now move to the 6 safety tips that should be followed by motorists and proclaimed to everyone.

Tip 10: Rules are meant to be Followed: Motorists should always follow the rules specified by the government. The law  states that motorists should be watchful about school buses and should stop when they see a school bus either picking or dropping kids at their respective locations.

Tip 11: Keep An Eye on the School Bus Signals: Motorists should always look for the stop arm and red lights that flash when the school bus halts. These two signals suggest that they should completely halt their vehicles without seeing them as “proceed with caution” indicators.

Tip 12 : Safety Instructions to Vehicles Plying alongside School Buses: These safety tips are meant for vehicles which are plying on a divided roadway sharing the road with a school bus.

Tip 13 : Shed Light on the Consequences of Errant Drivers: People residing in rural areas should be educated about the seriousness of impatient or preoccupied drivers. Such drivers who do not spare a thought about school buses can injure the kids who are either boarding or alighting the school bus.

Tip 14 : The Significance of a Stop Signal: Motorists should bear in mind that a school bus stop signal is non-negotiable. Going against such a signal attracts a traffic ticket which can be avoided if they keep their eyes open to school bus signals.

Tip 15: Safety Instructions for Drivers and Pedestrians: It is not only for pedestrians to follow traffic rules. Drivers should also take care of  pedestrian traffic rules. All those riders who are in close range of the school bus stops and the school premises should be very vigilent at all times. They should completely halt their vehicles when they see a school bus either picking up or dropping students.

Closing Thoughts:

All the above-mentioned school bus safety tips should periodically be reviewed thoroughly. Once these tips are made public to everyone concerned about the security of school students, safety will be ensured.

In this way, every school bus trip will become a safe ride for kids to enjoy and for parents to be rest-assured. In addition to stay safe while boarding the bus, kids should be taught to maintain seating discipline and follow instructions of how to get down the bus.

Motorists who make their presence felt on roads are also expected to be watchful about school buses plying with many students.

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Great School Bus Drivers – A Short Guide

It will not be an overstatement to mention that great drivers are the life-blood of any school district aiming at an efficient and problem-free fleet. It is through these professionally trained men that kids, parents and everyone concerned can heave a sigh of relief.

It is because of these men who are always behind the wheels of school buses that your school-going kids reach home safe and on time. With so much being said about school bus drivers, this exhaustive blog points out every facet of hiring, training, retaining and attracting them.

It also sheds light on all the qualities of a school bus driver that will stand as a testimony for him to be called “Great”. Before you try to understand all the above-mentioned aspects of great school bus drivers, let us first focus on the duties of a school bus driver.

School Bus Driver Duties

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Every job comes with a detailed job description speaking of the “good to have” and “must have” skills so as to hire the most befitting candidate.

So is the case with school bus drivers who are supposed to match their job description so that they move on from being considered as mere vehicle-operators to friends of both students and their parents.

On the flipside, every job entails upon certain duties that should be fulfilled by an employee. Here are certain duties of a school bus driver:

  • The one that tops the list is the ordained duty of picking up and dropping school kids at their designated points.
  • It is also his duty to follow the routes that are mentioned by the school authorities.
  • He is required to keep his eyes and ears open to weather and traffic conditions.
  • In addition to meeting timelines, he should ensure the safety of kids onboard at all times.
  • He should periodically test the tires, brakes and other bus-body parts and suggest timely overhauling and maintenance procedures.
  • It is also the prime duty of a school bus driver to ensure that kids maintain a safe environment while onboarding.

Qualities of a Great School Bus Driver

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There are many things that separate a good school bus driver from a great school bus driver. While a good school bus driver may follow all the traffic rules, a great school bus driver goes beyond these requirements.

Since it is all about ensuring the safety of school kids at all times in addition to effectively managing the fleet through timely maintenance, here are the “must have” characteristics of a great school bus driver.

  1. Sticks to rules and ensures safety of school kids

The topmost quality of a school bus driver is his adherence to rules. All for the sake of ensuring the safety of school kids, he is expected to demonstrate a great deal of professionalism that manifests in the form of:

  • Punctuality both in terms of pickup and drop timings and parking the vehicle in the school garage
  • While following all the traffic rules, he should also wear seat belts so as to ensure his safety which is indirectly linked to the safety of the kids onboard
  • He is expected to honor the signals at railway crossings
  • In addition to driving according to the traff  ic signals, he is also expected to have an eye on the speed limit
  1. When it comes to handling kids, patience tops the list of qualities

It is the innate quality of kids to be fidgety and mischievous. School bus drivers who deal with kids all the time are expected to exercise a great deal of patience.

While it takes all sorts of well-behaved and unruly kids to make a school trip, a great school bus driver is the one who not only drives carefully but also has an eye on the kids. Hence all those bus drivers who have patience can become great school bus drivers.

  1. Timely responses to issues

Life is uncertain and it does not take more than a second for a calm situation to turn into an eventuality. Things are meant to go wrong with a number of unexpected issues cropping up en-route a school trip.

Hence a great school bus driver is expected to react fast to issues and take remedial steps to avert the extent of damage that can affect kids and the vehicle.

His decision making skills coupled with his strong presence of mind in averting accidents can be the perfect blend of must-have traits in a great school bus driver.

  1. A well-informed driving professional

In addition to knowing how to use the state-of-the-art routing software that is offered by TrackSchoolBus, a great school bus driver should demonstrate routing and time management skills.

He can become an asset to any school as he is well-informed about all the school bus routes which help school management save a lot of time, money and effort.

  1. Should never use school buses for personal use

A great school bus driver, alongside demonstrating his driving skills should reach the garage on time every single day. This mirrors the fact that he has not used the bus to fulfill personal obligations.

  1. Should understand the world of differences between a car and a school bus

School bus drivers should know that maneuvering a passenger car is way too different from being at the wheel of a school bus. School bus drivers are expected to exercise caution while driving. Hence the motto should be to drive slowly and steadily.

Why is there a Shortage of School Bus Drivers?

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Topping the list of challenges faced by school districts across the globe is the shortage of school bus drivers. Enabling you to get the right picture of this biggest challenge, here are the main reasons that are leading to an acute scarcity of school bus drivers.

  1. The main obstacle that comes in the way of school bus drivers is the fact that they need to wait for up to 6 months to clear the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) exam.
  2. Next in line are the monetary requirements that entail upon a driver’s job. Alongside expecting better benefits, school bus drivers are required to spend their time and efforts in getting a CDL.
  3. The number of hours that are required to be put in by a school bus driver is another concern impacting the deficiency of school bus drivers.

From the school administration perspective, here is the main reason for the shortage of school bus drivers.

The fact that mechanics are available only for 4 hours a day is an impediment for school bus drivers to address to breakdowns.

Also when it comes to regular maintenance of school bus fleet, school bus drivers have to rely on these trained mechanics to perform routine safety checks.

Hence it is because of maintenance requirements that schools are unable to bridge the gap between the demand and supply of school bus drivers.

How to Attract School Bus Drivers?

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It is the responsibility of every school to attract many applications from school bus drivers so that their fleet requirements are filled in. In an attempt to experience a steady flow of applications, it is the need of the hour to look out for creative ways to recruit school bus drivers.

While the conventional newspaper ads and fliers may yield results, sometimes the informal communication between people can fill in a school bus driver vacancy. If you are looking for other compelling means that will help schools fill their school bus driver positions, here they come.

  1. Billboards Can Make Their Presence Felt

Notwithstanding the fact that the bright yellow-colored school buses make their strong presence felt on city roads, you may go ahead and cash in on the strength of attractive billboards.

Billboards in the form of attention-grabbing vinyl signs can display the message of a vacancy. These billboards when displayed on school buses can create an impact on the readers and riders.

These people can in-turn spread this message to school bus drivers who are looking for an employment.

  1. Maintain a Rapport with PTA

It is important for transport organizations to foster their relationship with the Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs).

Once transport conglomerates start building a rapport with PTAs, they will be able to collect data points about good school drivers who used to ferry their kids when they were small.

PTAs serve as effective means to fill in the drivers’ seats of school buses since they can vouch for the behavior of all those school bus drivers who transported  kids on time and safely.

  1. Unleash the Power of Direct-Mailing

Directly mailing prospective candidates for the role of school bus drivers is another means to fill the vacant positions.

It comes as an intelligent move to send a recruitment letter supported by a poster and the job application to people who might be interested to work as school bus drivers. These professions come with flexible schedules which can come as a blessing to fill up school bus driver vacancies.

How to Train School Bus Drivers?

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Training school bus drivers is a significant part to ensure the safety of school students. Training is also about informing drivers with emergency planning tactics along with harping on the importance of common sense while being at the wheel.

And to impart this training to drivers, you can bank upon the knowledge imparted by school bus driver training programs.

Given the fact that a majority of these training programs focus only on how to maneuver and drive a school bus, it is the need of the hour to equip them with details concerning safety issues and crises management.

With an intention to prepare the school bus drivers for any sort of eventuality that might arise while driving, below are certain training measures that should be taken by school authorities.

  1. School bus drivers should be informed about the latest trends in school violence so as to avert any such incident.
  2. They should be trained to deal with bus supervision issues.
  3. School bus drivers who have a thorough knowledge of their vehicle will be in a position to conduct pre & post trip inspections. Along with periodical checkup of brakes, they should be trained to adjust their mirrors and reference points so as to avert accidents.
  4. Every school bus driver should be taught about various driving situations including how to maneuver the bus at an intersection, how to safely reverse the bus and the precautions that need to be taken at railroad crossings.
  5. Prevention and effective management of violent incidents that take place in the bus also form a subject to learn.
  6. School bus drivers should be equipped with information concerning bus emergency strategies and exercises that need to be conducted as part of crises management.
  7. They should be informed about all the ways in which school buses can become targets to terrorist attacks.
  8. School bus drivers should be trained about safe bus stops along with having an eye on sleeping children. It is very important for every school bus driver to be taught about the nuances concerning student management.
  9. Last but not the least, it is very important for every school bus driver to identify distractions while driving so that he/she can focus on the road ahead. This is an important part of training that will help the driver exercise his/her presence of mind to avert an accident.

Tips To Retain School Bus Drivers

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It is a well-known fact that while good school bus drivers are scarce, then to retain them is quite a difficult task. All the transportation departments looking for means to retain professional and trained drivers can check out these 12 workable tips. 

  1. School districts should look at the salary structure of school bus drivers and strive to offer them competitive salaries. Once health and retirement benefits come as perks, they will attract more and more school bus drivers to stick to their jobs.
  2. If school bus drivers are encouraged through adequate support and training, they feel valued and hence will stick on to their jobs.
  3. Any reason for a driver’s unruly behavior should be immediately brought to the notice of supervisors who should be ordained to take timely action.
  4. In an attempt to value the opinions of school bus drivers, it is important to conduct periodical staff meetings. As part of the agenda, supervisors should allow the drivers to say their opinions about anything that is of concern to them.
  5. It is also very important to offer an unbiased treatment to all the school bus drivers.
  6. School administrations inclined to retain school bus drivers should have procedures and policies along with certain best practices that should be followed by them.
  7. Respect for drivers is another factor that will go a long way in retaining them.
  8. A pat on the back of drivers for any positive trait such as accident-free driving or regular attendance is sure to retain them for long.
  9. To top it all, financial incentives like rewards and bonuses can come in as attractive means to retain good school bus drivers.

Closing Thoughts

Given the fact that good school bus drivers are an asset to every school, it pays for school authorities to pay heed to their concerns and demands. Only then they will be encouraged to take pride in their job.

Along with training, appreciating and respecting school bus drivers can bring in a great deal of accountability to their ordained duty of transporting students safely and on time.

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How to Tackle Irresponsible School Bus Drivers

Schools are places where numerous kids come from different places and different cultures to learn. A lot of these kids use school buses as a mode of transport to travel to and from school.

It is important to have a safe environment for them to travel so that their parents feel at peace too. For this to take place the school bus must be handled by someone who is responsible and experienced. 

School bus drivers usually enjoy working with youngsters and are skilled and competent. But in certain cases, there are those who engage in unsafe means like driving recklessly, overtaking where it is unnecessary, skipping stop signs, using cell phone while driving and over speeding.

There are also instances where bus drivers lose their temper with kids who misbehave. Some others arrive late or forget to pick up a child. This makes them unreliable.

In this blog, we will discuss about how irresponsible school bus drivers can be tackled. The various steps that can be undertaken to tackle an irresponsible school bus driver are:

  • Call Up the School 

The first and foremost thing you can do is to call up and inform the school about an incident you want to report. Speak to the principal or the administrator regarding your issue.

After all, the driver is employed by the school, so it is your responsibility to let them know about their employee’s behaviour. Keep your calm and state the reason why you are having a complaint against the bus driver.

Give them details about where, when and what happened. You can give the physical description of the bus driver in case you couldn't catch his name.

  • Refrain from Losing Temper

Yes, it is the matter of the safety of children, but try to refrain from being angry and shouting and cursing the bus driver. Inappropriate language doesn’t solve the issue.

Your complaint will be taken more seriously if you stay calm and relate things with facts. Though the driver’s actions might have put your child’s safety at risk, it is important to deal with the issue in a professional manner so that your concerns will be heard and addressed.

  •  Ask the Solution 

Once you have communicated what your concern is, ask them how they can help to resolve the issue. Once you ask how the problem will be solved see if they volunteer the information.

You can expect that they will say that the school management will need to talk to the driver before taking any action. If so, ask them when you can call again to follow up the same. You can also ask for the name of the driver if you don’t know it yet.

  • Contact the Bus Company

In case the bus driver is an employee of the bus company you need to inform the representative regarding the irresponsibility of their driver.

They are the right people to address your problem regarding the infraction made by the driver. You can start by stating the route, the time at which your child was picked up or dropped off, name of the driver or the name of the school.

Give them all the required details so they can take appropriate action. You can enquire what they are going to do about the same.

  • Follow Up 

Once you have informed the school and the bus company, follow up with calls and letters regarding your issue with the driver’s behaviour.

Make sure that you clearly state all the facts pertaining to the incident. If a solution has not yet been suggested, propose one. For example, if the driver had forgotten to pick up your child from point, ask for an apology.

  • Involve Others

Talk to other parents with children in the same school bus. There are chances that they might have witnessed the same too. For instance, your child might tell you that his driver is texting while he is driving.

Other children in the same bus might have noticed this behaviour. In case the driver denies this statement you’re more likely to be believed if there are others who support your statement. Ask the bus company to check the footages if there is a camera in the bus.

  • Disciplinary Action 

It must be realized that the driver may not be dismissed immediately. He is entitled to due process as he is an employee of the bus company. Disciplinary action will be based on the seriousness of the infringement. He might be given a suspension or his pay may be docked.

To Wrap It Up

School bus management is a tender issue and must be handled only by experienced and mature people. Any kind of irresponsibility cannot be tolerated.

Even though schools and bus companies give bus drivers ample training, there are chances that they commit some kind of infringement. It might come to the notice of parents or students that drivers sometimes commit follies while they are driving the school bus.

But the lives of students are saddled in the hands of school bus drivers. So it is the full responsibility of the drivers to act responsibly.

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10 Emergency Response Tips for School Bus Drivers

Majority of the students in a school depends on school buses for their transportation to and from school. Along with student safety within the school premises, the schools are highly responsible for the safety of students in bus too.

Drivers are an integral part of the school bus transportation system and that is why schools should pay close attention to driver trustworthy and efficiency.

Proper training programs and assessments should be performed before assigning the role of school bus driver to a person. Even when all precautions are made, there are high chances for emergencies at times.

So it is important to train the drivers to handle the emergencies well and save the situation. As children are involved in the scenarios, keeping them calm without being panic is the key.

Here let us have a look at what all emergency situations can come up while driving a school bus and the emergency response tips for drivers.

1) First aid and CPR training

Getting relevant training and awareness of first aid to be given when some emergencies occur during bus strip is important. With this training, a driver should know how to handle medical and trauma emergencies such as shock, bleeding control, seizures, and cardiac arrest.

2) Roadway positioning

Sometimes the accident can occur at a dangerous curve or a busy road. In such cases, drivers should take initiatives to evacuate students from the bus in a well organized manner in the modest speed to avoid any further mishaps.

A driver should be aware of the places in his bus route so that the students can be held safe in some place until they get some external help. 

3) Evacuate a school bus

A driver should be aware of the situations in which the bus has to be evacuated. If a fire is seen, sudden evacuation is recommended as hazardous gases, smoke and fire can get spread in less than 2 minutes.

If fuel spill occurs with the bus or the vehicle that is involved in the crash, evacuation should be immediate as a spark can stimulate fire.

If in case, power lines got curled across the bus, the best option is to stay inside until emergency responders gives the green signal or the power is switched off.

4) Passenger injury

If the students are already injured but not at the risk of losing lives, the best option is to stay calm inside the bus and give necessary first aid until emergency responders reach the spot. Evacuating the injured students can result in further troubles.

5) Passenger accounting

First of all, drivers should know the number of students travelling in the bus on the particular day. It would be good if he can identify the students with their name and other features.

This can be a good help by him to identify the students and convey the message at the right place if in case any mishap occurs. In worst cases, drivers can check their bags for any ID card or name slips on their books to identify them.

It is good to carry the emergency contact numbers of every student travelling in the bus. Some schools advise to keep a book containing list of students and their relevant data near to the driver seat.

This helps the emergency responders to do the necessary if the driver is unconscious.

6) Know the route

Bus drivers should keep the authorities informed about the routes they are handling. This helps authorities to respond fast with necessary help in case of a mishap.

Similarly, drivers should be aware of the emergency centres and hospitals in their bus route. This helps them to save the lives of students in case of an emergency.

7) Know the student locations

A driver should be aware of the locations of every student before they move the bus. A general recommendation is to avoid moving the bus if any students are within 10 feet of the bus as kids can go careless at times.

Similarly, make sure that bus is under control and not moving in case a student is stepping in or stepping down from the bus. It is the role of the driver and the assistant staff to see that children are not stepping down from a moving bus.

8) Signalling students

The emergencies may not always happen with collision to other vehicles. There are many incidents reported where the students got injured with the bus they were travelling due to costly carelessness.

So driver should see that all doors of the bus are properly closed before they start their drive and no students are standing beside door during the drive.

It is good to advise small children to remain seated and not walking when the bus is moving as emergency braking can cause falls.

When you drop off a small kid in the drop off point, see that someone responsible has arrived to pick them. If children have to cross the road in the pick up or drop off point, make sure that they do it safe with the help of your assistant.

9) GPS tracker

A GPS tracking system in the bus can be a good help in case anything goes wrong. And the system has to be accessible to the school authorities as well as the parents or guardians. A GPS tracking app can be a handy solution for both schools and parents.

10) Role of school

Schools should understand that driver training is an ongoing process and their performance should be reviewed on a regular basis.

Prevention is better than cure and so taking some measures before hand can minimize the possibilities of accidents and in worst case to manage the situation well.

Here are a few things school authorities need to take care of to handle the emergency situations well.

  • When a new driver is interviewed, see that the necessary protocols and guidelines are met.
  • Educate drivers on the driving safety and perform emergency handling drills on a regular basis.
  • Set up a GPS tracking system in the bus in order to locate the bus position in case of an emergency.
  • A regular assessment and inspection of the security and safety of the bus should be made
  • A database of the students travelling by school bus should be kept ready to handle an emergency.
  • Every school bus should be having a first aid kit and drivers should be trained in using it.
  • It would be good if schools can set up an emergency call facility in every bus.
  • A school should be having all proper emergency response supplies.
  • The safety and security policies of school bus have to be reviewed regularly.
  • Students should also be given proper guidance and tips to overcome emergency situations

Final Thoughts

Being a school bus driver is not easy as the role involves many complexities. Sometimes he should take the role of a friend, sometimes a guiding parent and sometimes a life saver.

He should obey all traffic rules and follow safe riding as he has an extra responsibility of handling a bunch of young kids.

The emergency situations may not be always familiar ones and drivers may come across many new problems during their drive. It is his role to stay calm and customize his response according to the present situation.  

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School Bus Routing Software – How It Supports School Bus Drivers

The ultimate goal of every school transportation is to constitute a safe journey for students. However, the success of school transportation insist the active involvement of the school bus drivers.

Meanwhile, the task of a school bus driver is challenging and involves risk as they are transporting the precious cargo in the universe.

With the advent of school bus routing software, the drivers are able to govern and assign routes efficiently. Moreover, the route optimization feature enables you to recognize the efficient school bus route and thereby enhance the student safety.

Let’s check out how a school bus route software advocates school bus drivers:

  • Substitute Drivers Can Relish the Benefits Offered by School Bus Routing Software

The number of substitute driver depends on the number of regular drivers. Ordinarily, there will not be a sufficient number of substitute drivers. In fact, drivers are also human, they also deserve a vacation, sick leave, or encounter personal issues.

Route optimization feature in the app enables the substitute drivers to determine the apt route for the trip.

While the regular drivers split the route with the substitute drivers, every child will obtain the opportunity to relish school transportation services to and from school. 

The only matter you should consider is that whether the school bus driver has a valid license, adequate knowledge of the routes, and procure experience in driving those routes.

  • Routing Software Integrates and Track School Calendars

Different schools have different sessions and have different holidays. Routing software renders an immense assistance to drivers and schools in tracking school calendars and determining the apt route for the specific days. 

However, the public and private schools have different timings. As a result, you should arrange transportation services for public schools when private schools are closed and vice versa.

Let’s check how the routing software supports the drivers in tracking school calendars:

  1. Routing software allows you to track alternative routes for “public school only” days and vice versa
  2. Driver will be aware of the routes they are driving
  3. Instant alerts to students and families whenever there is no school transportation services on a particular day
  • Real-time Alerts for Inclement Weather

In foreign countries, the snowfall is a major concern and will result in road closures as there is a chance of flooding. Even though there is a delay, school bus drivers should commit all the procedures, adhere to the schedule, and clear the snow. Furthermore, the buses should be tested, cleansed, and examined carefully after clearing the snow.

At times, during the inclement weather, it is risky to travel on certain roads due to the increased chance for accidents or roadblocks.

The routing software intends to avoid such congested roads and suggest alternative routes, which is previously loaded into the system. In addition, it will reduce the requirement for taking last minute decisions that endanger the student safety.

  • Ensures Proper Licensing

Licenses are evidently crucial for school bus drivers. With the software, you will obtain assistance as you receive licensing alerts whenever the requirements are due.

For instance, drivers will acquire alerts regarding their commercial driver license, regular license, criminal background check, physical examination, child abuse checks, and bus inspections that require to be updated immediately.

Meanwhile, with the support of a routing software, schools are able to add and customize alerts. As a consequence, you will be able to confer safety and enhance driver satisfaction. 

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the school transportation routing software constitute a range of  benefits for school bus drivers such as effortless documentation, real-time notifications, and on the road guidance, which offers solutions to overcome the road related challenges.

In the meantime, the school bus routing software establishes a healthy working relationship between drivers and school transportation officials.

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How School Administrators Can Support School Bus Drivers

School bus drivers have a dominant role in ensuring a safe transportation for school kids. Nevertheless, you can witness a remarkable driver shortage among schools.

Hence, it is the responsibility of transportation managers and administration to formulate procedures that enable them to retain drivers on the payroll.

At times, you are required to implement drastic actions as it is a challenging task to replace a driver.

Here follows 15 ways by which school administrators can support school bus drivers:

1. Providing healthy salaries

Salary is an enormous issue for school bus drivers. No doubt, a majority of schools fails to provide the salary they deserve. As a consequence, it is wise to be aware of the salaries distributed by other schools and alter the pay scale accordingly.

If you are not competitive and is concerned regarding your budget, certainly you will lose a multitude of drivers.

2. Offer other employment opportunities

Of course, offering other employment opportunities is an efficient way to reinforce driver and commit their duty effectively. When you support them and provide assistance to pay off their bills, they will prefer to stay in the duty.

3. Remain flexible to their simple requests

Never attempt to ignore the interests and requests of drivers. On the other hand, when their simple request is neglected, they will not respect the school administration, which negatively affects the school’s morale and principles.

4. Rewarding facility

Offering reward is a positive reinforcement for every employee and it works for school bus drivers. However, when you reward drivers for outstanding performance, you are motivating them to continue the practice of safe and legal driving.

5. Concentrate on the school bus rules and student safety

When you manage students on the school bus, you are augmenting the credibility and reputation of the school. Moreover, you can organize presentations and awareness programs for reducing the disciplinary issues.

6. Conduct community outreach

By conducting community research, you will be able to inform the public regarding the exceptional performance of school bus drivers. It can serve as a motivation to drivers.

7. Planning celebrations and dinners

Entertainment is also essential along with the duty. People will be interested in their work, when you organize celebrations, parties, and dinners, once in a while. Such celebrations can serve as morale boosters.

8. Don’t underestimate their work

As a matter of fact, every job is unique and relevant. Never attempt to underestimate them and categorize them as second-tier employees.

For instance, you can consider their opinions and encourage their participation in every school activities.

9. Sponsor continuous learning for drivers

By sponsoring learning and training, you will be able to provide adequate guidance to school bus drivers. Furthermore, you can also partner with a local community college or refund college classes.

10. Display a sense of personal interest

Displaying a personal interest can be an effective solution to please them, you can send birthday or anniversary cards. While you consider them and include them in the family, they will be delighted and will never quit the job.

11. Clean the driver’s common room

When you spruce up the driver’s common room, a positive energy will be filled in the driver’s minds. A new coat of paint or placing new chairs will create a genuinely positive effect on the drivers.

12. Create a rapport

Meanwhile, when you prioritize the drivers, they will be elated and offer their valuable opinions on the dominant issues. By involving them in the issues, you are inculcating positive vibes in them, thereby increasing their morale.

13. Value the driver’s time

Time is having a crucial role in school bus driving as it is intensely a time focused job. A negative image will be created among school bus drivers when the school administrator itself become late in the meetings.

14. Remain with the driver’s side

Staying with the driver’s side is essential, especially, when the driver is having sufficient evidence against disciplinary issues. It is not desirable to unnecessarily side with the parents, who is not physically present in the scene of the violation.

15. Willingness to install modern technologies

Technology can provide an immense assistance to drivers, henceforth it is advisable to install the GPS trackers, CCTV cameras, and RFID trackers. This will not only enhance the school bus safety, but also offers a relaxation to drivers.

In conclusion, school administrators can reduce the job related challenges of school bus drivers. The above technologies will lower the rate of driver retention and enhance the safety of school transportation.

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What are the Defensive Driving Procedures for School Bus Drivers

Defensive driving skills constitute practices that assist the drivers to drive the vehicle through challenging conditions. And, it is essential for the school bus drivers, especially due to varied reasons. However, they need to wade through constantly varying conditions of weather and circumstances and also they have a responsibility to safely transport the most vulnerable group of people, the students.

Meanwhile, these skills include driving in harsh weather conditions like rain, low visibility due to fog, etc. as well as driving skills under different types of roads, steep surfaces etc..

1. Driving in low light conditions

Drivers need to be extra vigilant since the visibility is lower in the early morning hours or in misty or foggy conditions. Check the interiors of the bus for leakages or whether there is a suitable electrical insulation or not. Rectify the evident defects as soon as possible. In addition to this, apply fog lights when needed.

2. Harsh weather conditions

School buses are intended to safely fetch the students be it sunshine, rain or snow. If you require to drive though snowy conditions, then it is wiser to obtain the equipment for removing the snow such as shovels. Nevertheless, the roads become slippery due to rain and hence it is advisable to conduct a regular check on the tires and tubes.

Buses being heavy vehicles, you will confront difficulty in controlling it on the slippery terrains. Apparently, a bus requires 12 times more time to stop when the road is slippery than under normal dry weather. Also, before applying the brakes, check the rear view mirror for the close driving vehicles at the back. Showing stop signals a little earlier would assist you in alerting the trailing vehicles. Before stopping at the designated bus stop, check the mirrors for the approaching students and send out alerts.

3. Hilly terrains

Steep roads, hilly terrains, and zigzag paths all render a risky combination and therefore safe driving should be your first priority. While descending, slow down. Maintain constant speeds while climbing. Be sure to heed and honk before passing through blind curves. Presumably, you can maintain a minimum distance between your bus and the vehicles ahead for ensuring safety.

4. Transporting special need students

School bus drivers need to be vigilant while ferrying special need students and little children. Slow and steady is the best motto in such instances. Consider and be aware of their limitations. Be empathetic and patient, and recognize their needs. Avoid sudden stopping or speeding up. Also, it is wise to avoid sudden turns.

5. A flat tire? Tire blow out?

These are situations, which warrant considerable sense to stop the vehicle at a slower pace towards the sides of the road away from the ongoing traffic. Regularly check the tires and maintain them with appropriate pressure. The damage to tires must be instantly considered and informed to authorities so that they can rectify it swiftly. Bulging tires should be prevented. At the same time, hold your hands properly on the steering wheel.

Often during the tire blow outs, you will lose vehicle control. Don’t apply the brakes forcefully in such instances. A roll over can be avoided. Apply a little acceleration and then slow down by applying the spring brake. Service brakes should be avoided since it can cause rolling over. And  never forget to carry a properly inflated spare tire, as it can be beneficial in the emergency cases.

6. Mirror adjustment

Be sure to adjust the mirrors properly before taking the vehicle out in the mornings for picking up students. Also, you should be aware of the areas that each mirror covers as the drivers can check on the vicinity of the bus at all times.

Ordinarily, the inside flat mirrors serve to view the outside of the passenger windows, but above the window level. And, the top of the rear-view window should be seen in the top of the inside flat mirror for proper viewing angles. The cross view mirrors serves to view the front area of the bus including the bumper. Furthermore, flat mirrors outside should be adjusted to view at least 200 feet at the rear of the bus, sides, and rear tires.

As a matter of fact, outside convex mirrors serves you to view the entire area on the sides of at least one traffic lane width. Moreover, with sufficient adjustment of the mirrors, drivers will be able to cover all the blind spots in front and sides of the bus, but not at the back. Hence, it is wiser to seek assistance while reversing the vehicle.

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