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November 11, 2010  |   Comments (4)   |   Post a comment

10 More Ways to Bolster Safety

Pupil transportation officials share tips on bus stop safety, pre-trip inspections, emergency communications and more in this sequel to the August issue feature.

by Thomas McMahon, Claire Atkinson and Kelly Roher


SHARING TOOLS   | Email Print RSS « Page 2 of 2

7. Share info to bolster student safety
Maximizing student safety on school buses involves sharing pertinent information within the transportation team and with school officials.

“Dispatchers should provide school bus drivers with correct phone numbers, medical alerts, maps, etc.,” says Segal of Walled Lake Consolidated School District.

To avoid losing students, schools should be given “alpha lists, street lists, route times and maps of routes,” Segal adds.

8. Rules on the bus improve passenger safety
• Get to know your students. Be honest with them and follow through with what you tell them. If they know the rules, they know their limits.

• With assigned seats, it takes less time to load. Students know right where to go and there is very little delay. Having assigned seats lets the driver have control of who sits with whom and eliminates possible fights.

• Have the students keep all pencils and pens and all other sharp objects in their book bags. They could cause a serious injury, either because of the bus’ motion or the kids poking them at each other.

• Make sure the students sit with book bags on their laps and not on their backs. When book bags are worn on the children’s backs, they do not sit on the seats properly and do not have the protection of the seats.

• When unloading, have the students stay seated until it is their turn to get off, alternating from side to side. This eliminates pushing injuries.

• Make sure the students use the handrail when they are getting on and off the bus to help prevent possible falls and injuries.

• Make sure the students stay seated while the bus is in motion. Students could get seriously injured if the bus has to stop suddenly and the students are standing and not protected by the seats.
   — Submitted by Liza Leonard, driver/trainer, First Student, Grand Ridge, Ill.

9. Refresh skills in back-to-school meetings
Vicki Mattson, director of transportation for Lincolnshire-Prairie View School District 103 in Lincolnshire, Ill., encourages operations to use their back-to-school meeting as a review period.

“Discuss the danger zone and how to correctly adjust a bus’ mirrors,” Mattson says. “Place objects on the ground so that drivers can see what they are supposed to see in the mirrors.”

Hosting a demonstration on how to operate a fire extinguisher can be helpful. Policies can also be reviewed during the meeting. At Mattson’s district, for instance, supervisors must be visible in the parking lot during pre- and post-trip inspections, as well as at school sites while students load and unload.

10. Attend to disruptive students
James Kraemer, founder of 2safeschools.org and a veteran school bus driver, says that bus drivers should not allow disruptive children or others to distract them.

“Establish a safe, calm environment before leaving the school,” he says. “Offer children who refuse to follow directions, bullies and otherwise disruptive children a warning. If the misbehavior continues, offer the student a seat change or to wait outside the bus. Sometimes, an escort to the school office to resolve the misbehavior prior to riding a school bus again may be necessary.”

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In response to the question about where tips 7 through 10 are, click on page 2 at the bottom of the first page of this article and you will be taken to the page that lists tips 7 through 10.

Kelly Roher, SBF editor    |    Feb 03, 2011 03:00 PM

where are #'s 7 through 10 ways to safety?

lcannonier-hill    |    Jan 14, 2011 07:50 AM

9. Train both dispatchers and drivers in proper two way voice radio procedures and require their use to improve communications, reduce unnecessary transmissions and minimize possibly dangerous misunderstandings. 10. Require all new buses to have electrically adjustable and electrically heated mirrors positioned high enough to be out of the driver's direct line-of-vision to observe people, vehicles or objects in close proximity to the front or side of the bus, especially during turning maneuvers. Finally, all bus manufacturers and modifiers should hire qualified human factors engineers and listen to them when designing and engineering bus switches, controls, displays and actuators. The state of the man-machine interfaces in bus design is, and always has been, abominable.

Jerry Hart    |    Nov 14, 2010 12:35 PM

Here is my Top 10 list of safety improvement suggestions: 1. Establish and post minimum bus capacities based on two middle school or high school students per standard 39 inch wide seat and maximum bus capacities based on three elementary or kindergarten students per seat. 2. Require all school district and privately-owned vehicles operated within the boundaries of the bus yard and in employee parking lots to display flashing hazard warning lights whenever the vehicle is moving in forward or reverse. 3. Require bus operators to maintain an adequate “space cushion” based on a 5 second following interval from the preceding vehicle in dry road conditions, a 6 second interval in wet road conditions and a 7 second or greater following interval in icy or snowy road conditions. 4. Restrict seating in the two rearmost rows of seats on large buses unless all other suitable seats are occupied for the protection of the students from vehicle intrusion into the passenger compartment during a rear end collision or ejection through the rear emergency door in a side or frontal collision that warps the door frame causing the door latch to disengage. 5. Require pens, pencils and other sharp objects to be put away while on the bus to prevent student injuries and damage to seats. 6. Prohibit drivers from parking buses so closely nose-to-tail at schools so that the rear emergency exit doors are blocked with students on the bus. 7. Install lap/shoulder belt height adjusters on the driver's seat of all buses with air suspension seats and other buses where the upper anchorage point is so high that the belt is not properly positioned between the tip of the shoulder and the neck of the driver. 8. Reposition all electric service door actuation switches to the center instrument panel so that the driver is always looking toward the service door when opening or closing it. 9. Train both dispatchers and drivers in proper two way voice radio procedures and require their use to improve comm

Jerry Hart    |    Nov 14, 2010 12:28 PM

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