Five Tips for Ensuring School Bus Passenger Safety
published on November 27, 2018 by Sonia Mastros
As we start the new school year, one of the most important issues on the mind of every transportation director should be school bus safety. Even though school buses are already by far the safest vehicles on the road, they can always be made safer.
We've made a list of suggestions, ranging from the simple to the more complicated, that a district might consider implementing in the name of bus safety.
Five Suggestions for Improving School Bus Safety on the Road
1. Give People a Way to Report Problem Drivers
School buses should always have a message on the back or sides listing a phone number (or equivalent contact method) that people in the public can call if they see problem driving from a school bus. Sometimes, this sort of public reporting will be your first big clue that there's a problem with a driver. Be sure to follow-up on every report, too.
2. Add More/Brighter/Flashier Lights to Your Bus
When it comes to dangerous drivers among the public, there is a lot of evidence that the most cost-effective safety feature you can add to your bus is simply more lights. More lights help ensure nearby drivers are aware of the bus's activities, driving down incidents of stop-arm violations and similar dangerous driving. Better yet, sets of new lights generally only cost a few hundred dollars - something most districts can afford.
3. Hold School Bus Evacuation Training for Students
Sure, your bus has windows which can be popped out and hatches on the roof in case of rollover, but do the students actually know how to use them? If not, they're useless or even a potential new hazard. If it's not possible to train all of your student body, pick out some of the more mature/responsible bus riders on each bus and make sure they know how to operate the escape mechanisms in an emergency.
4. Create Smarter Bus Routes With Software
Modern school bus routing software can create bus route maps within moments; maps that are usually more efficient than what a human could create. Even better, they can be made to your specifications. Shorten walks between houses and bus stops, or route buses around 'problem areas' in town. A safer route improves safety for everyone.
5. Install Cameras
In-bus security cameras aren't a cheap fix, but they are extremely effective. You get to monitor both student and driver behavior, with no room for anyone to deny misbehavior. They can also be excellent sources of inspiration for re-training, or even used to highlight particularly safe behaviors.
How is your district going to improve school bus safety in the 2018-19 year? Let's talk about it below!