Back to School Means Refresher Training
School bus transportation personnel bear the responsibility to assure training is being implemented to garage staff, bus drivers, bus passengers, and the motoring public.
Typically during August, bus driver meetings are being held in every LEA. It is important to use the time to remind bus drivers of policies and safety matters which can affect the lives of their bus passengers.
Driver meetings should include the following topics.
1) Passenger safety training - According to State Board of Education Policy, passenger training is to be offered during the first 5 days of school and at least once per semester. Beginning in January, documentation that training was performed is required for every student. LEAs should be able to produce the date on which any given student received training. Video training is available for use by any school.
2) Driver Hand Signal crossing policy – Beginning in January, drivers for all LEAs will be using the North Carolina Crossing Signal to assist students in boarding or exiting the bus when they must cross the street.
3) Discipline training - Be sure drivers are reminded about local discipline policies, including actions to take when students do not stop and look when crossing the road.
4) Pre-trip inspection - Go over the state/local requirements for assuring the school buses are mechanically safe for every trip. Inspecting passenger stop lights and stop sign should be emphasized. The DMV school bus driver manual has a section about pre-trip inspections which should be reviewed by bus drivers on a regular basis. Remember – it is state law that drivers must promptly report any defects.
5) School bus security. School bus drivers have a unique opportunity to be aware of things that might be out of the ordinary, leading up to a criminal – or even a terrorist – event. Traveling the same roads on a daily basis, drivers can notice when something doesn’t look right along the route – and especially at a school bus stop. Drivers should be reminded to notify their supervisor or law enforcement officials if they suspect something is wrong. First Observer is a training program for school bus drivers that is made available by the Transportation Security Administration.
Other ideas for beginning of school
Get to know your bus driver. Students and parents have more confidence in the school transportation system when they know the name of the bus driver. Explore options for getting the word out to families about the professional drivers that are responsible for the safe transportation of students in the school system.
Get information to your local news outlet reminding the motoring public to be safe around school buses and highlight the safety initiatives being utilized this year.
Here’s to a safe and successful school year!