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The role of the school bus driver in ensuring the safe transportation of children to and from school and school-related activities is as important as any other link in the school transportation safety chain. Federal licensing and endorsements supplemented by state and local training are essential.
The responsibility for safety of children on the school bus lies not only with the driver but also with parents and students. Resources for parents and training for students help to develop that essential cooperation with the school bus driver.
Transportation staffs must constantly balance safety and efficiency and nowhere is this more critical than on the bus route. Bus stop placement, route hazards and bus stop safety must be addressed by the school district while they use GPS and routing software to plan school bus routes and schedules.
School bus drivers acknowledge that, while complicated, mastering the technical aspects of operating a school bus is simple compared to the task of managing the student passengers. Drivers, supervisors and school administrators each have a role to play in making sure that there are appropriate rules for students and that infractions are dealt with in a way that preserves the safety of students traveling to and from school.
When groups of children are involved, contingency planning for emergencies cannot be ignored. Events may involve moving large numbers of children away from an emergency situation or the situation may affect those students while on their bus. Planning for the worst can make all the difference in achieving a positive outcome during tragic events that threaten the well being of student passengers.
Passengers are protected due to the strength and construction of school buses in nearly all collisions. But all bets are off when it comes to trains, which is why railroad crossing safety is so important. NASDPTS partners with Operation Lifesaver International to provide critical safety training for school bus drivers. As with other safety topics, parent and student education is also critical.