Shenandoah County Public Schools unloads just three buses at a time at its largest campus to minimize the number of students and maximize supervision.
1. Deter speeding
"No need to speed" is a message emphasized at Virginia Beach (Va.) City Public Schools.
"Our drivers are taught that safety trumps schedule at all times," says David Pace, director of transportation services.
To make sure that policy is being heeded, the transportation department uses an unmarked radar car to perform random speed checks.
"We also have GPS on all our buses that allows us to monitor individual buses and their speeds," Pace says.
2. Keep back bus seats empty
For Tom Young, transportation director at Central Springs High School in Manly, Iowa, taking extra precautions to keep students free of injury while they ride buses isn't superfluous.
He has stressed to his drivers to leave the back two sets of seats empty whenever possible, a tip passed on to him by Max Christensen, executive officer of school transportation at the Iowa Department of Education.
"We try to do so as often as we can," Young says. "It goes back to several bus crashes that I have seen online. Most bus crashes happen from the rear of the bus."
3. Safety in loading, unloading
At Shenandoah County (Va.) Public Schools, buses are unloaded at the district’s largest campus three at a time to allow a minimum number of students on the ground with the maximum amount of adult supervision, Transportation Supervisor Martin Quigley says.
“We have more than 700 vehicles that come in and out of our largest campus in the morning, and this creates an environment where accidents can be severe if we do not follow our procedures and keep students’ safety in the forefront.”
At school bus stops, the counting procedure is vital. “Children are the most vulnerable when they are loading and unloading,” says Charlie Hood, Florida state pupil transportation director. “The bus operator must count and account for every child, every time, at every stop, until each student is safely out of harm’s way.”
4. Have drivers wear proper shoes
At Sweetwater County School District #2 in Green River, Wyo., Transportation Director Randall Jensen says he often has to tackle the problem of his drivers failing to wear proper footwear while operating their school buses, particularly during the summer months.
Under the policy he has given his drivers, all footwear must have a hard sole, have a covered toe area, and be tied or strapped on tight enough to withstand an impact.
“With all of the problems with pedal misapplication, I think it is very important to have proper footwear when you drive a bus,” Jensen says.