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bus simulator as part of a driver training program provided by trainers. Arbaugh agreed that bus drivers need a complete training pack-


age. “Technology alone does not teach the driver everything they need to know,” she said. “It’s a wonderful addition to the hands-on training and classroom experience, but taken alone, technology cannot teach the bus driver everything they need to know.” Training provided by the ESC and the Trust School helps school districts in loss prevention and reduced insurance costs.


SIMULATORS KEEP IT REAL Simulators are slowly becoming the training technology of choice for school districts that can afford them. Tey provide a real-world experience for drivers, featuring all the control panel instrumenta- tion of a real bus. Drivers must navigate the myriad external and internal distractions to deliver students safely to their destinations. Tese distractions include traffic, pedestrians, bicyclists, livestock, weather, road conditions, and onboard student behavior. An instruc- tor controls the simulator and can induce everything from a traffic obstruction to an overheated engine to brake problems that drivers must react to.


While simulators provide a virtual driving experience for bus


drivers, some want to know how well manufacturers are incorpo- rating emerging technology into their operation. Simulators can be expensive. Members of the Trust in Arizona raised $300,000


for a mobile unit that is shared statewide, and ESC Region 6 re- ceived a grant to purchase a 38-foot unit that costs $200,000. Te simulators used by the Trust and ESC are manufactured by Doron Precision Systems in Binghamton, New York. Whether simulators are technologically current or need to be, depends on who’s talking. “Tere is no way they can keep up with technology because it changes way too fast,” said Jefferson at ESC Region 6. “If you started to build a simulator today, by the time you completed it the technology would have already changed.” Deborah Hurt, a driver trainer with the Trust, agreed, likening the changing technology to another common object of forced obsolescence. “It’s kind of like getting a new computer,” Hurt said. “By the time you get it home it’s outdated.”


Arbaugh added that the simulator is only a component of their


driver training program. However, she added that Doron does offer upgrades to keep pace with technology. “Doron does the best on its end to keep up with evolving technolo- gy to keep you supplied with new equipment, new programs and new training approaches,” Arbaugh said. “Technology evolves so quickly, which is why I imagine Doron offers the upgrades. We got an upgrade last year that enhanced our graphics for a better driver experience.” Mike Stricek, senior vice president for Doron, said the main


objective of a simulator is not to teach driving but how to drive better. “All the technology is important, but the main purpose of


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