Resources Safety Related Articles Webcast Discusses How, Why School Bus Drivers Hold Key to Ultimate in Student Safety
Webcast Discusses How, Why School Bus Drivers Hold Key to Ultimate in Student Safety PDF Print E-mail
Written by Ryan Gray   
Tuesday, 28 September 2010 09:18

School Transportation News hosted the first of a two-part webcast that discusses how school district and bus company operations can better ensure proper driver behavior to result in the absolute safest possible ride to and from school for bus riders.

Titled "School Bus Safety Begins and Ends with the Driver: Keep the Missouri Crash from Happening to You," the event was presented by Jeff Cassell, president of the School Bus Safety Company, and Ted Finlayson-Schueler, president and owner of school transportation consultant company Safety Rules! Close to 400 people across the nation viewed the live 60-minute webcast. It is archived online for later viewing and sharing with others.

Cassell and Finlayson-Schueler tackled a wide range of topics related to school bus drivers literally holding the keys to the safest mode of getting kids to and from school, including proper following distance, one of the causes of last month's deadly crash outside of St. Louis that involved two school buses taking high school band members to an amusement park. A 15-year-old girl died when the second school bus in the caravan collided with the rear of the first school bus.

"One serious injury, one child fatality is one too many," Cassell said during the Sept. 28 webcast."It's unacceptable that there are 20 child fatalities a year, that there are 400 serious injuries, and its unacceptable that there are 120 other fatalities. Is this just the cost of doing business or should we turn our minds and say no?"

The main message was that many school districts should take some radical steps to increase school bus safety even more by changing behavior behind the wheel, and that begins with increased driver training, already a hallmark of the industry. But, on average, school bus drivers only receive about 35 hours of training each school year. Meanwhile, other modes of transportation can require three times more training a year.

More importantly, renewed motivation by administrators, supervisors and safety trainers as well as proper communication can influence improved driver skills. The webcast discussed not only driver behavior behind the wheel while the bus is in motion but also such concepts as counting children away from the bus, or on to it, at bus stops to make sure no fatalities or injuries occur during loading and unloading. Also, school bus drivers should employ the "rock and roll" method to more adequately check mirrors and any blind spots around the bus.

The two-part webcast concludes on Oct. 5. Part two will discuss specific actions to be taken to change driver behavior.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 September 2010 09:57