School Bus Fleet

October 2014

A management & maintenance magazine for school transportation fleets

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S C H O O L B U S F L E E T • O C T O B E R 2 0 1 4 24 tion, convened a Physical Standards Committee and set out to determine whether physical standards testing should become a requirement for North Carolina drivers. The com- mittee went on to develop processes, procedures and physical standards that it recommended as requirements for obtaining school bus certifcation in North Carolina. As outlined in the June 2013 draft of its "North Carolina Physical Stan- dards for School Bus Drivers," the committee developed fve physical standards. In addition to common- ly included standards such as stair climbing and throttle/brake opera- tion, it included one regarding steer- ing wheel operation. The June 2013 draft reads, in part, "Standard 2: In a properly seated po- sition with seat belt fastened, no part of the driver 's body may obstruct the steering wheel while making a hand-over-hand turn. Purpose: The test of Standard 2 ensures the bus can be steered in a hand over hand fu- id motion without hesitation or ob- struction. The standard will ensure a driver capability of steering the bus to avoid an accident or obstacles in the roadway." At press time, the North Carolina Di- vision of Motor Vehicles was set to im- plement the standards in January 2015. Don't let appearances fool The importance of ensuring a driv- er can safely perform the physical re- quirements of their job-related tasks can't be overstated, nor can you cau- tion enough against assuming without truly testing whether someone is pro- fcient. "You cannot tell just by looking at someone what they are capable of," reminds Craig Pruitt, program analyst for the School Finance and Pupil Trans- portation Unit of the Oregon Depart- ment of Education. "How can you tell if someone has high blood pressure? A pressure cuff has to be used and a measurement has to be taken," Pruitt notes. A certain physical build, age, amount of experi- ence or any other outward appearanc- es can be deceiving. "In Oregon, the threshold was estab- lished years ago, and at times it does help to determine the next step in the driving career. In the interest of safe- ty, agility testing and re-testing can be one of several tools used in the deci- sion-making process," he adds. Lisa J. Hudson is a freelance writer based in Raleigh, North Carolina. "Fortunately, the driver of this bus was both physically able and mental- ly prepared to call upon her training to perform an emergency evacuation sav- ing the lives of all students on board," noted state draft standards documents developed by the Transportation Ad- visory Group. Following the incident, the group, a subcommittee of the North Caro- lina Pupil Transportation Associa- AGILITY TESTING

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