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SSAPM
Active Member

34 Posts

Posted - 08/24/2011 :  09:11:58 AM  Show Profile  Visit SSAPM's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Bus drivers do a tremendous job of transporting students to and from school, but they are human too. Noise and behavior can cause the driver to be distracted from his or her attention that is needed to safely drive the bus.

School bus drivers have up to three class loads of students on their buses. The driver not only is responsible for monitoring them, but also maneuvering a large vehicle in traffic that requires their constant attention, keeping their eyes on the road and two hands on the wheel. Bus drivers also cannot have direct contact with the students while driving and the only way to monitor them is through a rear view mirror, which can also be a distraction in itself. A teacher dealing with one classroom of students can sometimes be challenging, but bus drivers are in a much more difficult situation.

There is a Facebook Group called, "School Bus Drivers Against Noise and Other Issues That Compromise Safety"



If you are interested, you can check it out and join.

http://www.facebook.com/groups/247442025286990/


Edited by - SSAPM on 08/31/2011 12:08:05 PM

JK
Top Member

USA
7307 Posts

Posted - 08/29/2011 :  07:57:56 AM  Show Profile  Visit JK's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Facebook Link? (jk)

Edited by - JK on 08/29/2011 07:59:01 AM
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SSAPM
Active Member

34 Posts

Posted - 08/31/2011 :  12:02:11 PM  Show Profile  Visit SSAPM's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Sorry I forgot the facebook link.

It is http://www.facebook.com/groups/247442025286990/

Thanks
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SSAPM
Active Member

34 Posts

Posted - 09/11/2011 :  08:19:50 AM  Show Profile  Visit SSAPM's Homepage  Reply with Quote
VIRGINIA TECH TRANSPORTATION INSTITUTE

Virginia Tech Transportation Institute has a reputation as one of the leading transportation research institutions in the nation. Its cutting–edge research is affecting significant change in public policies in the transportation domain on both the state and national levels. VTTI has conducted groundbreaking research through it use of naturalistic driving studies using sophisticated cameras and instrumentation in participants’ personal vehicles.

With the introduction of naturalistic driving studies that record drivers (through continuous and kinematic sensors) in actual driving situations, there is now a scientific method to study driver behavior in real-world driving conditions in the presence of real-world daily pressures.

VTTI's team of professionals conducts applied research to solve various transportation challenges. With real–world research results, VTTI affects significant change in public policies on the state, national, and international levels with the ultimate goal of saving lives on our highways.

A very well known groundbreaking study that VTTI conducted and co-sponsored by the National Transportation Safety Administration, was the 100-Car Naturalistic Study. This was the first study of its kind using real-time data of cars, involving cameras in the car to pinpoint specific behaviors that preceded crashes.

Recently, another real-time naturalistic study using video cameras was concluded. This successful study, sponsored by the Federal Motor Carrier Administration, was also conducted by VTTI to analyze the risk of commercial truck and bus drivers’(transit and motor coach buses only) activities or actions that distract their attention away from the driving task.

PROPOSED SCHOOL BUS DISTRACTION STUDY BY VTTI

The reason I mentioned the above studies is that VTTI has already proposed a school bus driver distraction study which can be just as successful in providing a basis for decision-making and unique insights that have plagued school buses with this age-old problem.

There is a pressing need for a school bus study to investigate school bus driver distraction. The Transportation Board said it should be a priority to investigate immediately since not is much known about distraction issues concerning school bus driving.

The Center of Truck and Bus Safety is one of nine divisions of research at VTTI.

The aim of the center is to conduct research that advances the state of knowledge in the truck and bus safety domain and provides pragmatic solutions to real-world problems.

The Transportation Research Board’s Research Needs Statements study, proposed in 2010 by the researchers at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute‘s Center of Truck and Bus Safety, will collect naturalistic, real-time data of school bus drivers performing their normal driving tasks during bus routes. One of their areas of interest includes noise levels on school buses. The research team stated that not much is known about the distraction issues in school bus driving scenarios and therefore should be a priority to investigate immediately.

(Transportation Research Board, Identification Of Critical Issues Involving School Bus Safety. 2010 http://rns.trb.org/dproject.asp?n=25341)

Here are some of the key points of the proposed study:

“The research team would work closely with school transportation providers to instrument numerous school buses with data collection systems. These systems would capture video, sound, and vehicle kinematic data for further analysis. A data reduction strategy similar to the one used in the Naturalistic Truck Study performed by VTTI could be employed to identify safety-critical events. These events could then be analyzed to characterize the associated driving environment (i.e. eye glances, distractions, etc.) and passenger conduct.” It would also include measuring noise levels in the buses using noise meters.

“This project would provide a unique examination of the school bus driver’s work situation and would provide insight into the causes of unsafe and potentially injurious distractions. Potentially regulatory actions may be identified that enhance and promote safe school bus operations as well as protect student passengers as well as highway users.”

I believe it is time for a study to look into the distractions that school bus drivers deal with on a daily basis. The VTTI study would be a good place to start.

Edited by - SSAPM on 09/11/2011 08:55:03 AM
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JK
Top Member

USA
7307 Posts

Posted - 09/11/2011 :  11:58:39 AM  Show Profile  Visit JK's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Glad for this thread, an issue that hovers near the top of my pet peeves list. No surprise to me that anything to do with noise on the school buses would come in last on the study agendas, especially in the driver's compartment.

Amazing that the NTHSA didn't jump on the opportunity to study noise on school buses right out the gate, or at least before drivers hauling cargo. This has been a big issue amongst school bus drivers for some decades. How is it that precious lives and their bus drivers are last on this list? Maybe not last, since I didn't see mentioned a Mop Head driver, bicycle or tricycle or skateboard noise or distraction study.

Annoys me that school bus drivers have not had an in-depth scientific study of noise distractions available, as a defense against loud, unruly bus environments. There is not even a school bus noise level study inside the bus drivers compartment made available. The only school bus noise study I could find was from Canada involving the passenger areas of the bus, not the driver's compartment.

In addition to the distraction risks, loud unruly buses are unhealthy for the passengers. Some children climb the walls causing the bus driver to think they are bad kids when reality is that these sorts can not process all the noise.

I believe that an unruly, loud bus environment creates a hostile environment that can promote bullying, fighting, and other hostile events, as well as a dangerous driver distraction condition that ought not be ignored, but dealt with before leaving the school when possible.

Some drivers as much as boast that they can, "handle it," but what actually can happen as a result is setting up sub drivers with intolerable unsafe driving conditions. Other negative consequences include interference from some drivers and also some parents that complain the drivers maintaining calmer bus environments are too picky.

Perhaps Virginia Tech can achieve a useful (scientific) study that bus drivers can use to defend maintaining calmer school bus environments. (jk)

Free images for your newsletters, letters, memos and training materials
Click here to view and copy free images. - Updated July 05, 2011

Other free resources at this forum link: Click Here for Link

Edited by - JK on 09/11/2011 12:48:26 PM
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JK
Top Member

USA
7307 Posts

Posted - 09/11/2011 :  12:32:41 PM  Show Profile  Visit JK's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SSAPM

Sorry I forgot the facebook link.

It is http://www.facebook.com/groups/247442025286990/

Thanks

Leads to: School Bus Drivers Against Noise and Other Issues That Compromise Safety, a newer page with a great idea.

Like it, see the need, and hope your membership experiences impressive growth. (jk)

Free images for your newsletters, letters, memos and training materials
Click here to view and copy free images. - Updated July 05, 2011

Other free resources at this forum link: Click Here for Link
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bus724
Top Member

USA
1609 Posts

Posted - 09/11/2011 :  3:28:56 PM  Show Profile  Visit bus724's Homepage  Send bus724 an AOL message  Reply with Quote
A behavior management technique that I often used while driving was the "silent bus" if the noise remained at what I considered an unacceptable level. For 5 minutes, no one was allowed to talk unless they needed to inform me of a serious issue (medical concern, physical bullying, missed stop, etc). After 5 minutes, I would announce "We'll try again to use quiet voices," and turn the stereo back on.

At first I was unsure about this, since I felt I was punishing the group for the actions of a few. However, the well-behaved would often complain of the noise before it got past my own tolerance level, and on several occasions asked for a silent bus because they were getting a headache or wanted peace and quiet to read.

Another benefit is that, with the option to socialize removed, everyone was more likely to stay seated properly.

Another thought, echoing something JK has been saying for a while, is that PA systems should be standard equipment on every school bus. Sometimes, the only way to get the attention of loud children is to use a voice loud enough to overpower them.
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JK
Top Member

USA
7307 Posts

Posted - 09/11/2011 :  4:46:17 PM  Show Profile  Visit JK's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thank you, bus724, for mentioning the need for a PA in every bus, with both inside and outside speakers. Missed it in my vent about the indifference that seems demonstrated from too many facilities concerning noise in their school buses.

The PA works as a great tool to prep the bus before departure, as well as in route. Myself use the PA almost exclusively, since when not doing so I tend to be shouting and some kids parents complained that I'm shouting at their innocent child, not to mention that their child was very loud or otherwise disruptive. Sometimes when a friendly warning was ignored would respond with a loud command to, 'Stop it now!'

Often I have injected the safety issues, driver distraction and the effect of a loud bus environment on some IEP students, but limited on specific school bus research science to back it up.

Regardless, the district would back me, although sometimes reluctantly when a parent (almost always the mom) would persist with complaints that her child is not that loud, and that the bus driver is picking on her child.

Our most frequent complaint from parents in our district are accusations the bus driver is picking on their child. Our TR, previously a school principal is amazed at the immaturity from some parents, even when the child's malbehavior is clearly presented on the bus video.

The physical injuries and mental health issues that too much noise can cause is well documented, few working parents, nor would OSHA tolerate such a loud environment in most workplaces with out safety equipment.

It is interesting that even when knowing these realities most drivers will not complain to OSHA. OSHA aggressively defends safe workplaces, including those on wheels. (jk)

Corrected link:
Health risks of noise exposure.

Free images for your newsletters, letters, memos and training materials
Click here to view and copy free images. - Updated July 05, 2011

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Edited by - JK on 10/17/2011 07:56:12 AM
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SSAPM
Active Member

34 Posts

Posted - 09/12/2011 :  1:00:23 PM  Show Profile  Visit SSAPM's Homepage  Reply with Quote
What James said about a noisy environment is true:

"I believe that an unruly, loud bus environment creates a hostile environment that can promote bullying, fighting, and other hostile events, as well as a dangerous driver distraction condition that ought not be ignored, but dealt with before leaving the school when possible."

Research studies have shown that noise can cause aggression in individuals, especially if they perceive they have little control over the noise, but is usually triggered because of something already bothering the person.

Research studies (Donnerstein and Wilson,1976) conclude that individuals who don't have control over loud noise levels (or even perceive they don't have control) reveal an increase in aggression, whereas individuals who have control (or perceive they have control over noise) were no different than those that had a no-noise situation.

In a report prepared for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, Connell and Joint (1997) state, "The probability of finding any casual link between noise and the presence or intensity of aggression appears to rely on the level of control the subject has over the noise. If the individual has no control over the volume or duration of an irritating noise, the level of aggression provoked by something else is likely to be raised. Such noise produces stress, and makes concentration more difficult, so that any other infringements will probably be reacted against, and individuals who already find themselves in an aggression-producing situation will aggress more intensely."
(Connell D., Joint M., Aggressive Driving: Three Studies. March, 1997, www.aaafoundation.org/resources/index.cfm?button=agdrtext)

Finally, The World Health Organization documented seven categories of adverse health effects of noise pollution on people. It concluded that noise levels above 80 decibels were associated with both an increase in aggressive behavior and a decrease in behavior helpful to others. Noise pollution may cause or contribute adverse affects including anxiety and stress.
(Goines and Hagler, Noise Pollution: A Modern Plague. March 2007 www.nonoise.org/library/smj/smj.htm)

In reality, on many school buses the noise is loud and often unbearable. The noise produces stress and any other mitigating circumstances just intensifies the situation. The noise escalates to increasingly higher levels.

Next time I will post about what James mentioned, that noise can mask behaviors such as bullying, fighting, etc.

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SSAPM
Active Member

34 Posts

Posted - 09/23/2011 :  10:59:10 PM  Show Profile  Visit SSAPM's Homepage  Reply with Quote
HIGH NOISE LEVELS MASK MORE SERIOUS BEHAVIORS

Students often use the noise on a bus to mask serious behaviors. While
the din on the bus increases, they can instigate things that won't be
noticed by the driver or other students until it is too late. I
believe many behaviors stem from the loud noise levels on the bus.
The behavior may be due to the increased noise level itself, causing
some students to become aggressive. The noise also contributes to
behavior issues ranging from playing around and goofing off (throwing
a hat, etc.) to more serious actions such as physical and sexual
assaults. With all the noise and commotion going on in the bus, there
are students who will take advantage of the situation.

BULLYING ON SCHOOL BUSES

Bullying has become a major interest nationally. S.506 bill has been
introduced by Senator Robert Casey to address and take action to
prevent bullying and harassment of students. This is a big issue on
school buses.

Three middle school students were charged with harassment after they
allegedly attacked a 13-year-old boy on a school bus and recorded the
act using a video cell phone application. Michael Martin, executive
director of the National Association for Pupil Transportation, said
school bus bullying is becoming more of a challenge for drivers.
“We’ve seen over time an increase in drivers having to spend more time
focusing on discipline on the school bus than they have in the past,”
Martin said. The article‘s author, Jennifer Carboni stated, “The
Downingtown incident highlights the challenges for school bus drivers
who are not only responsible for navigating Chester County roads
safely, but are also tasked with keeping an eye on up to roughly 70
students at a time.” “That job becomes much more difficult if
students are not following the rules of student behavior,” Martin
said.
(Carboni, J. Drivers train to thwart bullies on school buses. August
20, 2011, Daily Local News.
www.dailylocal.com/articles/.../doc4e5088fbd8ed1388472563.txt)

Other than the school playground, bullying on the school bus is the
most common form of bullying for school-aged children, according to
Wendy Craig, a professor at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario,
who has spent the past 20 years on bullying prevention.
(Spicer, S., School Bus Bullying. Nov. 2010,
http://www.todaysparent.com/schoolage/behaviordevelopment/article.jsp?content=20100920_152647_4860&page=1)

The Transportation Research Board study found that in recent years
bullying has grown in its frequency and breadth across age groups.
Incidents, such as the one that captured national attention this past
year when a father stormed a school bus and threatened the bullies who
were taunting his daughter who had cerebral palsy, are becoming more
prevalent.
(James Jones, Father Who Threatened Daughter's Bullies Says He'd Do It
Again. Sept. 1, 2011, Huff Post,
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/01/james-jones-father-who-th_n_944922.html ).

About 160,000 children miss school every day for fear of being bullied
according to the National Association of School Psychologists. Some
of these children endure rides on buses where bullies have the run.
Experts say that school buses present a particular opportunity for
bullies because they offer a captive audience and little adult
supervision.
(Prince, C., When the School Bus Becomes a Scary Place. April 19,
2005, www.csmonitor.com/2005/0419/p12s01-legn.html ).

Bullying is less likely to happen when the students' noise level is
under control. Michael Dorn, executive director of Safe Haven
International, a nonprofit school safety center, has trained bus
drivers on bullying prevention, and believes maintaining discipline
is important on the bus. He says, "bullying tends to occur more
frequently and more severely in locations where children are not
disciplined as much as they should be."
(Roher K., Tackling School Bus Bullying. May 1, 2008,
http://www.campussafetymagazine.com/Channel/School-Safety/Articles/2008/05/Tackling-School-Bus-Bullying.aspx)
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mcgoo
Active Member

Canada
28 Posts

Posted - 10/01/2011 :  6:42:47 PM  Show Profile  Visit mcgoo's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I have to wonder who is in charge of these buses, the driver or the kids.
I have been driving for 30 years and have never had to deal with the problems you people describe.
If you can't control your passengers, your in the wrong field of employment.
Try finding a job where you don't have to deal with the public.
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SSAPM
Active Member

34 Posts

Posted - 10/01/2011 :  8:27:30 PM  Show Profile  Visit SSAPM's Homepage  Reply with Quote
mcgoo,

I admire that you have control of your school bus, but there are many bus drivers around the country that are not as blessed as you are. Here is just a sampling and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

About 50 bus drivers complained to the Springfield School Committee
that students were spitting on them, climbing through bus windows and
the roof hatch of the bus and dangling over the bus mirror.
(McLaughlin, S., Springfield School Committee addresses misbehaving
students on school buses. April 8, 2011,
http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2011/04/springfield_school_committee_addresses_misbehaving_students_on_school_buses.html)

According to an article, "Fights on the school bus: an inside look
from a JCPS bus driver," fights, threats, and injuries are what bus
drivers deal with on the job. One of the bus drivers goes on to say,
"other kids on the bus are loud, swearing, and one of the biggest
write-ups is fighting. I had about 100-120 referrals." The article
mentioned that other bus drivers had contacted the news organization,
saying, "something needs to be done to get the students on the buses
under control. The JCPS Transportation Director said "he wasn't sure
what the district could do." He said they needed to have students in
school and that they had high schools that were failing. This is an
example of an administrator that has other pressing issues to deal
with and transportation is just one more issue to deal with.
(Chinn, V., Fights on the school bus: an inside look from a JCPS bus
driver. May 22, 2011, http://www.wdrb.com/story/14299688/fights-on-the-school-bus-an-inside-look-from-a-jcps-bus-driver)

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jorgea
New Member

2 Posts

Posted - 11/05/2011 :  12:03:45 PM  Show Profile  Visit jorgea's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thanks for sharing that Facebook link. It may prove helpful to bus drivers
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SSAPM
Active Member

34 Posts

Posted - 11/11/2011 :  11:25:16 AM  Show Profile  Visit SSAPM's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Yes, I hope so. This age-old problem has been around so long that everyone just accepts the status-quo, "kids will be kids," but it has "gotten" out of control and has become more and more widespread - there are some really serious safety issues concerning the safety of the bus on the road (high noise levels, behaviors affecting the driver of the bus to drive safely) and the safety of the students inside the bus (bullying, assault, harassment, etc. That is the purpose of Facebook, "Drivers against noise . . ." to hopefully gather more awareness and to come up with some viable solutions and action.

Thanks for responding.
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SSAPM
Active Member

34 Posts

Posted - 11/11/2011 :  10:20:41 PM  Show Profile  Visit SSAPM's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Again, the Facebook link is:

http://www.facebook.com/groups/247442025286990/
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SSAPM
Active Member

34 Posts

Posted - 11/12/2011 :  11:38:39 AM  Show Profile  Visit SSAPM's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I have a question:

How is it that up to 600 hundred grade school students can walk from their classrooms without talking and messing around (almost eerie really!) and stand still and quiet on a field until a bell rings?
I will tell you why. It is all in the expectations. A fire drill is a safety situation. Then my question becomes: The school bus is just as much a safety situation as a fire drill, maybe more, yet there are no noise limits and often behavior limits on what happens on school buses. Why aren't there reasonable expectations for noise levels and behavior on school buses? I don't blame the drivers, they have enough on their hands, one driver trying to keep track of up to 70 students while trying to safely maneuver a bus safely through traffic. But an interesting analogy.
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sbd37091
Senior Member

93 Posts

Posted - 11/12/2011 :  9:03:17 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have been driving a school bus for nine years and I cannot understand why any driver cannot control the noise level on their bus. I must assume that you don't have the support of your school system with disciplining your riders.

Our school board has provided us (school bus drivers) with a detailed list of rules that the bus drivers are to enforce. At the beginning of each school year, a copy of these rules are given to all students. They must take them home to their parents and have the parent sign it and then return the form to the school.

Any violations by the students are then reported by the bus driver to the school principal.

For the first offense, the student receives a verbal warning.

For the second offense, the student is denied school bus privileges for five days.

For the third offense, the student is denied school bus privileges for ten days.

For the fourth offense, the student is denied school bus privileges for the remainder of the school years.


Don't most of the school districts have similar policies. If they do, I don't understand why a driver doesn't control the behavior of students who are unruly on their bus.
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SSAPM
Active Member

34 Posts

Posted - 11/12/2011 :  10:40:00 PM  Show Profile  Visit SSAPM's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Different districts have different expectations and some areas might be more difficult than others. Please see previous posts about groups of bus drivers complaining to the district office.
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goworley
New Member

1 Posts

Posted - 11/13/2011 :  11:46:02 PM  Show Profile  Visit goworley's Homepage  Reply with Quote
sbd37091
You appear to be blessed with an incredibly supportive school system. In my district the student must be written up 4 times before the referral goes into the school for the dean/principal etc. to handle. Then the normal punishment at elementary level is something like taking away a recess. Not much concern is given to a write up for 'noisy/loud' as this is considered a 'minor' infraction. My contention is that noisy/loud behaviour is the precourser to more serious infractions.

Edited by - goworley on 11/13/2011 11:46:47 PM
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SSAPM
Active Member

34 Posts

Posted - 11/14/2011 :  5:34:43 PM  Show Profile  Visit SSAPM's Homepage  Reply with Quote
What goworley said is like hitting the nail on the head. When kids noise level is lower, the kids are calmer (just as in a classroom). As soon as the din of the bus begins to rise, some kids start out by goofing off (throwing things such as hats, moving seats, etc), mild (in comparison to some of the other behaviors) but still a safety and distraction issue. But then there are others that use the increasing noise to mask their bullying and more serious behaviors.
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SSAPM
Active Member

34 Posts

Posted - 11/19/2011 :  1:29:24 PM  Show Profile  Visit SSAPM's Homepage  Reply with Quote
How loud is noise (when students are passengers) on the bus?

It is generally accepted that school bus noise levels are loud. Bus drivers often comment on forums and blogs that students are loud.

There has been very little, if any, research on school bus noise levels. I could not find any information from federal, state or local governments that know what the noise levels (while students are passengers) are. This is remarkable since there is ample evidence that high noise levels exist on many buses based on driver complaints, first hand experience, observation, incidents, accidents and from bus and student video. The noise levels are loud, but there are no specific measurements.

A bus driver on a forum commented that many of the buses, the sound levels may exceed safe levels, after he used sound meters to measure the noise. He measured noise level in the 90 decibels range. Apparently this was from the bus only since he also commented, "if the kids are also loud that accumulates noise to levels that can damage the ears permanently over time."
(School Bus Fleet. May 24, 2007. www.schoolbusfleet.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=16221)

Federal law states that the interior of a school bus must not exceed 85 decibels. I believe this refers to noise generated by the school bus itself, not the students. All school buses must meet noise level requirements that prevent passenger compartment noise levels from exceeding 85 decibels, consistent with the advice of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to prevent hearing loss. This is interesting because it is a likely that many buses are generating at least 85 decibels and more from the students' noise alone, yet according to federal regulation, it is unsafe.

Neil Coppola, president of American Bus Video, has been operating businesses providing mobile digital recorders in the fleet markets for 24 years, with the last 15 concentrating in the school bus markets. Neal and I have discussed the issue of noise problems on school buses. Neil said, "As a person who is constantly involved reviewing bus video system video files, I can attest to the deafening volume of noise on some of the 450,000 buses that transport children to and from school daily." He goes on to say, "as a past NFA Class 3 dealer, I can assure you there is little difference in ambient noise between an outdoor firing range and the passenger compartment of many of the school buses whose videos I have been asked to review. During live testing of some of the products, we ride in the buses, and I am in awe of the drivers of these buses who can show such restraint and focus on the road in spite of the unbelievable noise that is constantly distracting their attention and focus. This poses a seriously high risk for those children." This is an opinion from a person that has had first hand experience. I don't believe Mr. Coppola is exaggerating about the noise levels. Students' noise level on school buses become progressively louder as time progresses. As the noise becomes louder, students need to talk louder to be heard over the rising din around them. The noise begins to snowball and repeats the cycle over.



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laneganr
New Member

8 Posts

Posted - 12/14/2011 :  01:40:20 AM  Show Profile  Visit laneganr's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Where can I find the result of the VTTI study? or whatever it was called, that studied the noise levels in a typical school bus? I personally have measured the sound level on my bus with an iPhone app (with approx. 72 students riding) to be within a constant range of 80-90 decibels, with a peak decibel of 120. Of course levels drop off as the route progresses. I drive for the Lincoln County School District and there is not such rule for denying school bus privileges for 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc. offenses. We have a "referral" system that includes "yelling and being loud", but we'd have to write at least 70-some of these referrals after route. THIS WOULD TAKE HOURS!!!!! (and we don't get drive pay for this either)....so it doesn't get done. Ha! Wonder what the noise study would say if driving a school bus was 1000 times worse than texting or using the cell phone while driving! Hasn't the NTSB looked into this? BUS DRIVERS SHOULD BE PAID WAY MORE FOR PUTTING UP WITH THESE ROWDY KIDS!!! What we do everyday is nothing short of a miracle.
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SSAPM
Active Member

34 Posts

Posted - 12/14/2011 :  9:00:12 PM  Show Profile  Visit SSAPM's Homepage  Reply with Quote
First, I appreciate you information about the noise levels and other information. You have some very valid points. There is very little information on actual noise levels on school buses. Even though it isn't scientific, at least it demonstrates that there is a real concern. Ouch! My ears! I can't imagine a group of adults putting up with those kinds of noise levels on airliners or other group transportation that you have in your bus. If there were, I bet you'd get some government noise meters in those vehicles and planes right away!

Also you made an excellent point. There are no consequences for loud noise which by the way is a major contributor to more serious behaviors.

PROPOSED SCHOOL BUS DISTRACTION STUDY BY VTTI

This study has not been undertaken yet. It is a proposed study and it needs about a million bucks for it to be a reality. Amazingly, there are many studies funded by the government that aren't worthy, yet this is a very important issue that needs to be funded and studied.

Maybe if there were a petition people could sign and send it to Congress? There is quite a bit of talk about noisy kids on airliners (there are over a thousand members for this Facebook page, "Airlines should have kid free flights!") This Facebook page as well as the topic is receiving a lot of attention these days by media such as the New York Times and even the Wall Street Journal.

There is also a Facebook page for school bus noise and driver distraction, "School Bus Drivers Against Noise and Other Issues That Compromise Safety ( http://www.facebook.com/groups/247442025286990/ ). There are about 19 members at present, but if this were to grow as in the case of the Kids Free Flights Facebook page, I believe there would be more attention given to this topic and possibly even attention given to this important study. Sadly though, since there are "only" kids and the bus driver (that no one seems to listen to anyway),there doesn't seem to be any squeaky wheels that can get the grease.

Getting back to the VTTI study, as mentioned earlier, it is only a proposed study for now.

Here are some excerpts from the proposed study:

There is a pressing need for a school bus study to investigate school bus driver distraction. The Transportation Board said it should be a priority to investigate immediately since not is much known about distraction issues concerning school bus driving.

The Center of Truck and Bus Safety is one of nine divisions of research at VTTI.

The aim of the center is to conduct research that advances the state of knowledge in the truck and bus safety domain and provides pragmatic solutions to real-world problems.

The Transportation Research Board’s Research Needs Statements study, proposed in 2010 by the researchers at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute‘s Center of Truck and Bus Safety, will collect naturalistic, real-time data of school bus drivers performing their normal driving tasks during bus routes. One of their areas of interest includes noise levels on school buses. The research team stated that not much is known about the distraction issues in school bus driving scenarios and therefore should be a priority to investigate immediately.

(Transportation Research Board, Identification Of Critical Issues Involving School Bus Safety. 2010 http://rns.trb.org/dproject.asp?n=25341)

Here are some of the key points of the proposed study:

“The research team would work closely with school transportation providers to instrument numerous school buses with data collection systems. These systems would capture video, sound, and vehicle kinematic data for further analysis. A data reduction strategy similar to the one used in the Naturalistic Truck Study performed by VTTI could be employed to identify safety-critical events. These events could then be analyzed to characterize the associated driving environment (i.e. eye glances, distractions, etc.) and passenger conduct.” It would also include measuring noise levels in the buses using noise meters.

“This project would provide a unique examination of the school bus driver’s work situation and would provide insight into the causes of unsafe and potentially injurious distractions. Potentially regulatory actions may be identified that enhance and promote safe school bus operations as well as protect student passengers as well as highway users.”

Thanks again for your input. It is from drivers like you that I believe will change the status quo of this age-old problem.



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SSAPM
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Posted - 12/14/2011 :  9:15:00 PM  Show Profile  Visit SSAPM's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I would also like to add one more comment about your insightful wisdom comparing the danger of noise levels with texting and cell phone use. I would suggest that high noise levels (it is both a safety and distraction issue which also leads to more serious behaviors) are at least as dangerous or more so than texting and cell phone use. That is why the Transportation Board said it is a high priority to study. I believe such a study would reveal what bus drivers have known all along: driving a school bus is extremely stressful and that drivers have a tremendous responsibility with driving a bus load of students with all the things they have to deal with (by themselves!).
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laneganr
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Posted - 12/15/2011 :  11:22:40 AM  Show Profile  Visit laneganr's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SSAPM

I would also like to add one more comment about your insightful wisdom comparing the danger of noise levels with texting and cell phone use. I would suggest that high noise levels (it is both a safety and distraction issue which also leads to more serious behaviors) are at least as dangerous or more so than texting and cell phone use. That is why the Transportation Board said it is a high priority to study. I believe such a study would reveal what bus drivers have known all along: driving a school bus is extremely stressful and that drivers have a tremendous responsibility with driving a bus load of students with all the things they have to deal with (by themselves!).

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laneganr
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Posted - 12/15/2011 :  11:32:05 AM  Show Profile  Visit laneganr's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the good info SSAPM. I would also like to add that as a "Professional Child Transportation Specialist", you wouldn't want to selectively "ignore" a student's yell for help (because of bullying or some other form of harassment) just so you can hear what your dispatcher or other drivers are saying over the 2-way radio - which may be important. I've had to yell over the top of my voice over the intercom to "quiet down" because I needed to hear what my dispatcher was saying over the 2-way radio.

Also we are training to do mirror checks every 8 seconds, which includes the large rear view mirror to watch the students. The students know this, and time their little misbehaviors accordingly. Just watch a video of a route to confirm this!

Also there is a Petition website for the U.S. Congress where you can create and sign a specific petition to go up before Congress and for them to act on. https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petitions#!/petitions
I've already created a petition to have congress fund the VTTI study ASAP!!! EVERYONE LOOK FOR THIS AND SIGN IT! It just may wake them up!

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laneganr
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Posted - 12/15/2011 :  11:53:04 AM  Show Profile  Visit laneganr's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Sorry. As of 12/15/2011 11:45am PST, THE WhiteHouse.gov site is down for creating petitions. Please look for one in the next coming days, as I will keep trying. I hope to place it under the EDUCATION or TRANSPORTATION categories, so start your search there!
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SSAPM
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Posted - 12/15/2011 :  8:57:48 PM  Show Profile  Visit SSAPM's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thanks laneganr, the information you have provided is invaluable. I wasn't aware of the government petition process. I will definitely sign your petition and will also begin one for dealing with the high noise levels on school buses. This will help others become more aware of school bus driver work conditions.
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laneganr
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Posted - 12/16/2011 :  12:47:05 PM  Show Profile  Visit laneganr's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I already beat you to it SSAPM! HERE'S THE LINK:

https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petitions/!/petition/fund-1m-virginia-tech-transportation-instutes-vtti-school-bus-distraction-study-child-transportation/dCmJsRKt

If, for some reason you can't find it I put it under EDUCATION, TRANSPORTATION, and TECHNOLOGY categories. Look for subject:

"FUND THE $1M VTTI SCHOOL BUS DISTRACTION STUDY FOR CHILD TRANSPORTATION SAFETY"

EVERYONE GET ON BOARD ON THIS ONE PLEASE!!!!

We need to have at least 150 signatures to make it publicly visible on the Open Petition section of We The People.

WE NEED 25,000 SIGNATURES BY JANUARY 15, 2012 FOR CONGRESS TO EVEN LOOK AT THIS!!!!

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SSAPM
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Posted - 12/16/2011 :  10:10:17 PM  Show Profile  Visit SSAPM's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I will check this out and get going on it. Thanks!
Also, there was a 13 year old girl was attacked on a bus on December 9th, 2011 and it was caught on cell phone video. The news station video commented that the district isn't commenting on whether the bus driver will face consequences. If the bus driver does face consequences, then this is an example of a school district holding the driver accountable but probably not supportive in backing them up when their are problems. School bus drivers are very vulnerable and face liability issues.
http://fox4kc.com/2011/12/16/school-bus-beating-caught-on-cell-phone-camera/?mid=5562678
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SSAPM
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Posted - 12/17/2011 :  10:34:43 AM  Show Profile  Visit SSAPM's Homepage  Reply with Quote

SEXUAL ASSAULTS

If anyone does not think noise level is a factor in school buses and kids will just be kids, then they need to look at these two incidents. How are bus drivers supposed to be aware of these situations when their attention is focused on driving a bus safely in traffic, in addition to the noise and distractions, when even the coaches on the bus with can't hear the child's cries for help? The noise levels on school buses are serious problems and are pretty much ignored. These two incidents, unfortunately, are just the tip of the iceberg.

Unfortunately, sexual assaults also happen on school buses. In, 2008, an 18 year-old boy was charged with rape and sexual assault with a 14 year-old girl. Police spokesman Kyle Evans stated the bus video camera showed her on the video camera above the driver and that she could clearly be seen resisting and telling him to leave alone. Mr. Evans said the bus driver apparently didn't respond to the girl's cries for help. When asked if he heard the girl, the bus driver stated, "I didn't hear it. I've got 60 kids on the bus all talking, cutting up, laughing."
(Marchesoni, L., Girl allegedly raped on school bus. Feb, 28, 2005, http://www.murfreesboropost.com/girl-allegedly-raped-on-school-bus-cms-9472)

Two eighth-grade boys were charged with two felony counts, including attempted sexual battery on a child, in connection with an incident involving the school soccer team. The boys pulled down a sixth-graders pants and boxers and allegedly put an apple pie box between the student's buttocks, according to the report. The boy told deputies he yelled for them to stop. The report said everyone on the school bus was so loud that the coaches, who were sitting in the front of the bus, could not hear him.
(Pfahler, L., Wixon C. Students arrested in Sebastion River Middle School Bus
Incident. Sept. 24,2008, http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2008/sep/24/students-arrested-in-bus-incident/).
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laneganr
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Posted - 12/17/2011 :  3:43:05 PM  Show Profile  Visit laneganr's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Nice stories SSAPM! I could tell you one myself - I was transferred to another route for *NOT* noticing that an older boy was sexually molesting a younger boy (newly placed on my route) on my bus. All I saw was 1 head looking forward instead of 2. We don't "mentally" store in our over-stressed brains how many students are in every seat on every trip. Not even "assigned seating" can guarantee this. So everything looked normal to me. How was I to know that the perpetrator was a sexual predator?

SSAPM is there anyway we can raise the level of awareness for the VTTI Distraction Study to the splash page of this site? (I know its the holidays) We only have until Jan. 15th....

Can you speak to the site administrator to add something about signing this petition *NOW* on the splash page?

So far, only 1 signature (me)...here's the link again:

https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petitions/!/petition/fund-1m-virginia-tech-transportation-instutes-vtti-school-bus-distraction-study-child-transportation/dCmJsRKt
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SSAPM
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Posted - 12/18/2011 :  03:14:20 AM  Show Profile  Visit SSAPM's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I think your situation on the bus is typical of how things are often handled, they are sort of swept under the rug so to speak. How many drivers out there tolerate so many different situations because they know their needs won't be addressed or it is inferred that if you can't control your kids, than you shouldn't be driving a bus. It is also understood that the district has many other responsibilities, problems and challenges to deal with, but the bus drivers' concerns should be addressed promptly before things escalate and the situation gets out of hand.

I talked to a substitute bus driver who fought forest fires in the Pacific Northwest during the summer. He said that driving a school bus was very much as intense as fighting a forest fire, the attention needed,the adrenalin and overall tension. Similar to having an "over-stressed brain."

Thanks for beginning the petition. I have tried to sign the petition but am having problems with the spam code, but will keep trying.

I have also contacted the administrator about putting something about it on the splash page.

Thanks again for helping make others aware of the problem

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SSAPM
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34 Posts

Posted - 12/27/2011 :  12:10:59 AM  Show Profile  Visit SSAPM's Homepage  Reply with Quote
School Transportation News reported on the petition for the federal study of "School Bus Driver Distraction."

The article also stated:

"Based upon any identified causes of unsafe distractions, the study could lead to potential regulatory action by FMCSA, FHWA or NHTSA."

This is what is needed, regulatory action for the high noise levels and behavior that cause distraction. There really needs to be action to deal with this largely ignored issue.

http://www.stnonline.com/home/latest-news/3953-federal-study-school-bus-driver-distractions

One day, after this problem has been "officially" addressed and steps taken to deal with the problem by the government, the public, especially drivers and parents personnel will wonder why something wasn't done a long time ago.
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laneganr
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8 Posts

Posted - 01/01/2012 :  9:25:56 PM  Show Profile  Visit laneganr's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Great!!! 7 more signatures! /b***** BUT WE NEED 24,992 MORE *****/b
C'mon School Bus Drivers!!!! I've notified my ATU Local 757... notify yours, if you have one, to spread the word!!! The link to the article is on the splash page of this site (thanks webmaster!) to do this by Jan. 15th! I've also e-mailed the Transportation Research Board Committee ANB70, who is asking for this study, (I guess along with the VTTI) informing them of this petition.

Thanks,
laneganr
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SSAPM
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34 Posts

Posted - 01/02/2012 :  8:27:33 PM  Show Profile  Visit SSAPM's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thanks laneganr, we're up to 11!
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