School Bus Safety: Identifying High-Risk Drivers
published on December 05, 2017 by Sonia MastrosMany challenges face school district transportation managers when it comes to the current bus driver shortage, but one of the biggest issues is keeping driver quality high. Even when good drivers are hard to find, that can never justify hiring a bad driver or one who may compromise school bus safety. Likewise, if a bus driver shows themselves to be high-risk while on the road, they need immediate retraining - or termination - no matter the costs involved.
There are plenty of warning signs of a driver who is at high risk of accidents and other problematic behavior, so keep an eye out to ensure your drivers are always prioritizing safety.
Four Ways to Identify Drivers Who Are a Threat to School Bus Safety
1. Check their record.
This is obvious, but still needs to be mentioned: Never hire a driver without having a close look at their driving record and Motor Vehicle Report (MVR). How they drive as citizens will say a lot about how they'll drive as professionals.
Don't be shy about pulling a report on them after you've hired them as well. Some companies will check their drivers' MVR yearly or twice-yearly, just to be safe.
2. Test their defensive driving knowledge.
It's not always a requirement that a professional driver take a defensive driver course - but they should. Consider making up a quick test to check their knowledge of defensive driving and give it to all hires. Any problem areas should be immediately addressed in remedial training.
Alternately, consider offering a bonus of some sort to drivers who voluntarily take a defensive driving class.
3. Monitor their driving habits directly.
A number of technologies exist, such as GPS transmitters, that will let you observe drivers' behavior on the road in very close detail. This includes areas such as adherence to defined routes, speeding issues, and whether they come to full stops when needed. Don't let minor infractions slip by - they could lead the driver to getting even more sloppy.
4. Pay attention to student complaints.
Obviously, we're not saying to take every student complaint as gospel. However, if a driver is behaving inappropriately on the road or in their student interactions, the students will probably notice. If you hear enough corroborated reports about the driver from students, look into it - particularly if they're coming from students you know are fairly trustworthy.
Further Improve School Bus Safety With Better Mapping
BusBoss offers a range of route mapping and monitoring solutions that can help you create faster, more optimized and safer routes. Often, you can improve school bus safety just by routing around problem areas, and that's exactly the sort of optimization problem BusBoss was designed to handle. Contact us directly for more information!
How do you ensure your drivers are focusing on safety first? Please provide feedback below.