State pupil transportation directors this week unveiled plans to develop and disseminate a model pre-trip evacuation briefing for school activity trips.
The action is part of the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services’ (NASDPTS) response to a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommendation, which stemmed from the fatal school bus crash in Gray Summit, Mo., in 2010.
NTSB recommended that NASDPTS, the National Association for Pupil Transportation and the National School Transportation Association “inform your members of the circumstances and events that contributed to the Gray Summit accident; discuss solutions for the driver, pre-trip evacuations briefings, and vehicle, inspection and technological issues presented in the report; and urge the implementation of these solutions among your members.”
In NASDPTS’ response, issued on Monday, the association detailed numerous e-mails it has sent to inform its membership on the Gray Summit crash. Also, the association has requested that an NTSB staff member give a thorough, technical presentation on the crash at the NASDPTS conference this fall.
In its investigation of the Gray Summit accident, which involved two school buses on a field trip, NTSB found that while the majority of the interviewed bus occupants said that they had had emergency evacuation drills at least once while in grade school and that they were aware of where the exits were, some students were not familiar with how to operate the window exits. None of the interviewed bus occupants mentioned ever receiving a pre-trip briefing on emergency evacuation before traveling to school-sponsored events.
NTSB concluded that “the lack of school bus evacuation briefings prior to activity trips may hinder evacuation and pose a risk for all students.”
On that front, NASDPTS said it would survey its state director members about requirements for and content of school activity pre-trip evacuation briefings.
“NASDPTS will then create and disseminate a model pre-trip evacuation briefing and encourage states without a pre-trip evacuation briefing requirement to establish one,” the association said in its response to NTSB.
Also, NASDPTS said that it will encourage its members "to ensure that state and local bus driver training programs include a thorough overall review of the circumstances of the NTSB’s findings and recommendations in the Gray Summit investigation.”
For the full NTSB recommendation to the industry associations, click here. For the full NASDPTS response, click here.