School Bus Fleet

November 2014

A management & maintenance magazine for school transportation fleets

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6 S C H O O L B U S F L E E T • N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 4 W hen a school bus driver in Hamburg, Iowa, attempted to make a left-hand turn on Aug. 19, it was anything but routine. The driver was not wearing his seat belt, police said, and he fell out of his seat. With no one behind the wheel, the bus, under- standably, went out of control. According to the Fremont County Sheriff's Offce, the bus left the road- way, went onto a resident's property, and crashed into her two-car, wood-framed garage. The garage was destroyed, and the resident's car and riding lawnmower were damaged. Fortunately, there were no students on the bus at the time. The sheriff's offce did not report any injuries. The 61-year-old school bus driver was cited for failure to wear a seat belt and failure to maintain control. Of course, it's up to each school bus driv- er to wear his or her seat belt at all times while operating the bus. But we know from seeing occasional reports like the one above that there are some school bus drivers who aren't always buckling up. With that in mind, transportation su- pervisors have to reinforce the impor- tance of driver seat belt compliance, and they have to monitor that compliance. One tool that has proven to be help- ful in making sure that drivers buckle up is fuorescent seat belts. They may not be the most aesthetically pleasing color choices, but they enhance the visibility of the driver 's shoulder belt from outside of the bus. In some states, bright seat belts for drivers are included in school bus spec- ifcations. In Delaware, for example, school bus driver seat belts are spec'd in fuorescent green or orange. State director Ron Love has told us that these conspicu- ous colors make it easier for supervisors to see that their drivers are wearing their belts. In July, Iowa updated its school spec rules in a vari- ety of areas. One of the changes was a re- quirement for new school buses to have fuorescent seat belts for drivers. Fluorescent seat belts for school bus drivers are also a state spec in North Car- olina. Another initiative in the state that has helped ensure that bus drivers buckle up involves a sticker and a hotline. In 2008, the North Carolina Depart- ment of Public Instruction (DPI)'s trans- portation services department activat- ed a hotline for students to call to report bus drivers not wearing their seat belts, as well as those who use their cell phone while driving. In the school districts that participate in the program, a sticker is placed in buses encouraging passen- gers to report violations to a number that goes to the DPI transportation offce. State director Derek Graham told us recently that calls to the hotline have greatly decreased in the past few years, which seems to indicate that the pro- gram is working. Graham came up with the idea after the Huntsville, Alabama, crash in 2006 in which a school bus plunged off of an overpass, killing four students. The in- vestigation of that accident found that the bus driver was not wearing his seat belt, and he was ejected from the bus be- fore it plummeted from the overpass. As Graham pointed out, school bus drivers' decision to buckle up doesn't just affect their own safety — it is essential to the safety of their students. Bright ideas to make sure drivers buckle up By Thomas McMahon, Executive Editor editor's note VP, Bus and Rail/Publisher Frank Di Giacomo Associate Publisher Mark Hollenbeck Executive Editor Thomas McMahon Managing Editor Nicole Schlosser Editorial Assistant Becky May EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD David Anderson, director of transportation and fleet service, Adams 12 Five Star Schools, Thornton, Colorado Michael Dallessandro, transportation director, Greece (N.Y.) Central School District Ted Finlayson-Schueler, president, Safety Rules!, Syracuse, New York Tim Flood, executive vice president, The Trans Group, Spring Valley, New York Derek Graham, North Carolina state director of pupil transportation Pam McDonald, director of transportation, Orange (Calif.) Unified School District Michael Shields, director of transportation and auxiliary services, Salem-Keizer Public Schools, Salem, Oregon Cheryl Wolf, special-needs transportation consultant, Lafayette, Indiana Senior Production Manager Sarah Paredes Art Director Yuda Chen Audience Development Manager Bill Ciesielczyk For Subscription Inquiries (888) 239-2455 Classified Advertising Sales Donna Stewart (405) 260-1678 Fax: (405) 260-1684 E-mail: Edward J. Bobit (Chairman, 1961-2014) NAPT Hall of Fame, 1999 President and CEO Ty Bobit VP and Chief Operating Officer Cyndy Drummey Chief Financial Officer Richard E. Johnson BUSINESS & EDITORIAL OFFICES Bobit Business Media 3520 Challenger St., Torrance, CA 90503 (310) 533-2587 • Fax: (310) 533-2512 E-mail: Website: VP, Bus and Rail/Publisher Frank Di Giacomo 49 S. Maple Ave. Marlton, NJ 08053 (856) 596-0999 • Fax: (856) 596-0168 Associate Publisher Mark Hollenbeck 3115 NE McDonald Ln. McMinnville, OR 97128 (503) 472-8200 • Fax: (503) 472-8228 PRINTED IN U.S.A.

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