School buses are considered to be the safest means of transportation for students in every country, mainly because these buses meet federal regulation.
Each country follows its own standards and principles in maintaining safety in school bus transportation. According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) standards, school buses should be different in design and must be protected by the law, unlike passenger vehicles.
The administration also recommends compartmentalization as an ideal option for large buses to protect students from crashes. At the same time, small school buses should come with lap or shoulder belts for all seats, which provide better security.
According to the Roads and Transport Authorities across the globe, school buses
- should not exceed the maximum speed of 80 km per hour
- must come with red, yellow and other light indicators system to alert when the bus stops
- should feature mirrors system that shall show all sides of the bus
- floor must be covered by combustible, non-slippery rubber
- must accommodate electronic door opening and closing mechanism under driver’s control
- should implement a speed control device that adheres to the standards provided by the schools
Based on the standard school bus transportation guidelines followed in different countries, let us discuss 18 best practices that improve student’s safety in school buses.
As school bus accidents are rising, drivers need to be very cautious to prevent such disasters. The irresponsible behavior of the drivers’ is considered to be a key factor that causes such accidents.
1. Make sure that the bus you drive include all sort of safety features including stop arms and flashing lights, cross-view mirrors and emergency exits
2. Also check for stop arms, bus-empty signs, secure seating, first-aid box and fire extinguishers
3. Focus on high crash standards and rollover protection features
4. Check whether the bus is parked in a safe area
5. Pre-trip inspections should also be conducted consistently and thoroughly
6. Follow certain safety procedures that would be helpful to escape from any hazards just like active shooting or hijacking
7. Also let the students know those safety features so that they are sure of their security.
Parents are responsible for educating their kids on key basic rules of safety. They must make sure to take the children to the stop at least five minutes early before the scheduled time of the bus. They should –
8. Make the children familiar with their stop and educate children on the importance of traffic safety
9. Teach your kids to stand a few steps away from the road and get into the bus only after it comes to a complete stop
10. Recommend using handrails when they are getting in to and even while getting down from the bus and tell them to fasten seat belts if it’s available
11. Ask them to take the help of the driver in case if anything gets dropped out of the bus and they have to get back them
12. Teach the importance of seat belts in preventing injuries in case of any accident and ask them to go directly to a seat as soon as they get in to the school bus
13. Also train kids to discuss with them or with the school management of any offences committed by the driver or students
School authorities can consider implementing certain policies that ensure student transportation safety such as
14. Allowing only authorized drivers and assigned vehicles to enter and leave the school premises
15. Using technology and artificial intelligence options to prevent any hijacking or bus theft
16. Make sure that a staff is strictly present in the bus
17. Provide periodic training for drivers on how to handle students as well as any situation in the bus
18. Emergency evacuation training of a school bus helps students, drivers and support staff to handle any critical situation
Some schools have installed combi-booster rear transmitter device that provides building access cards that are meant to secure the buses as well as the yard.
Once the building access card is inserted into the device, gate will open only if it perfectly matches the combination of bus and driver for that specific time slot to enter or exit the yard.
Schools can also take advantage of advanced software options available to manage tasks such as bus fare collection, unplanned trips, routing and more.
For schools that consider outsourcing their transportation tasks, make sure to choose a company with experience in achieving streamlined transportation operations.
GPS Trackers Help Schools and Parents Track School Bus
High-definition GPS systems are now available that help parents and school administrators to track the correct location of the school bus, in case of any delay or missing.
With real-time details, parents can also enjoy the peace of mind that comes from realizing that their kids are safe. An ideal GPS tracking device can help to
- know whether a particular student is present on the assigned bus or have got off the bus
- track any school bus routes
- notify any discrepancies that occurred
These GPS tracking apps on mobiles can offer both security and convenience.
Apps along with GPS tracking devices helps parents of all classes and even special education students to get on-time updates of the bus routes – to and from school. They can also be aware of any weather or traffic delays.
Now most buses also feature cameras that help school officials to solve theft or any other mishappenings. Cameras are also helpful in finding other drivers who make any fuss by ignoring these stop signs.
While using cameras in buses, schools should also educate their employees on ways to use the video system perfectly.