COLUMBUS, Ohio — Lap-shoulder belts for school bus passengers and driver oversight are among the topics on tap for next month’s conference of state pupil transportation directors.
The National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services’ (NASDPTS’) annual gathering will be held Nov. 4 to 8 at the Hampton Inn & Suites Columbus-Downtown and the Greater Columbus Convention Center.
The conference will kick off with a workshop on three-point seat belts that will cover newly released crash test results and will “challenge us with new ways of thinking,” according to NASDPTS. The session will feature Charlie Gauthier, former head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA’s) school bus safety program and former executive director of NASDPTS. Panel members will also include representatives of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
Also on the NASDPTS conference agenda are updates from an array of federal agencies, including NHTSA, NTSB, the Transportation Security Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Education, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Linda Bluth of the Maryland State Department of Education will lead a panel presentation on education reform and its impact on school transportation.
Another session will address mobile data terminals and displays (tablets, for example) on school buses and how to limit driver distraction.
Another timely topic to be addressed at the conference: school bus driver qualifications and performance. With an eye on recent high-profile crashes and driver oversight issues, a NASDPTS roundtable session will discuss best practices and solutions in working toward “zero defects when it comes to driver performance,” NASDPTS said.