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Student transportation providers promote a safety culture through comprehensive training programs, rigorous background checks, and employee behavior positive reinforcement.
Here are five tips for school bus safety.
1. The importance of a comprehensive training program is a cornerstone for student transportation providers. A training program should include quality classroom instruction, behind-the-wheel skill courses, and road supervisors that periodically monitor driver performance. Evaluating driver training program effectiveness will measure trainee reaction and if learning occurred. Most importantly, training should change behavior and lead to improved safety performance.
2. A student transportation provider must demonstrate that a positive safety culture begins at the top level in the organization. The strongest predictor of safety performance is leadership and safety culture. Recognizing team members that adhere to safety policies and procedures should be encouraged.
3. Recognizing the key role of dispatchers is integral to promoting safety. Dispatchers should be trained to ensure every driver is physically and mentally prepared to safely operate a school bus. Dispatchers can also provide a calming influence when communicating to drivers, especially in a difficult situation.
4. School administrators should identify the appropriate technology innovations that support the district’s strategy and financial plan. New technology should be considered once a positive safety culture and the appropriate policies and procedures are in place.
5. A rock-solid partnership between the school district, parents, and the student transportation provider will strengthen the safety environment, allowing a positive experience of working together, for the shared purpose of keeping all students safe.