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News


going. She said bus driver does not adequately describe all they do. “Tere is a lot of technology and there is a learning curve to each technology,” Bean said. “I don’t know what else I would call them, but it wouldn’t be bus driver. I don’t think transporter is correct, either.” Similar to how students scan on and off the school bus, Bean said her staff use RFID cards to access the transportation building, obtain fuel and perform their electronic pre-trip and post-trip in- spections. She said a fob is assigned to each bus that assists drivers in tracking fuel consumption, mileage and fleet management. “All my people are certified in propane to fuel propane buses, and that’s another technology,” Bean said. “Tey must attend class to get certified in propane.” Ron Chew has driven a bus for 38 years. He currently drives for the South Henry School Corporation located about 50 miles east of Indianapolis. Besides child alerts systems prompting drivers to check for students at the end of routes and convex crossview mirrors, Chew said one of the biggest technological advancements he’s seen is the automatic transmission. “It is so nice to get in the bus and put in gear and take off and


not have to worry about shifting gears,” said Chew, who is also the president of the Indiana State School Bus Drivers Association. “Tat’s one of the greatest developments. Tey’ve changed several things that make driving easier and safer because drivers are able to


concentrate more on driving instead of shifting gears and watching students and traffic.”


KEEPING STUDENTS SAFE Student safety is at the core of each new school bus technology.


Drivers are told that is their first priority and they are trained as such. Bus drivers protect students from other students and from outside threats. Some have been injured and killed protecting students and by students they have disciplined. In response, school districts have expanded their training to handle the myriad situations a driver might face in today’s world. Districts are training bus drivers to diffuse tense situations with students, parents and interlopers. Tey receive active shooter and counter-terrorist training. Tey are instructed on recognizing child abuse, and an organization called Busing on the Lookout (BOTL), a program of Truckers Against Trafficking, is reaching out to school districts across the country to recruit school bus drivers to recog- nize the traits of human trafficking and teach them to report it. NASDPTS’s Hood said Florida’s child abuse law is an example


of how bus operator training is keeping up with the job’s require- ments. “(Te law) requires school bus operators to report signs of child abuse,” Hood said. “Tat may have been a common-sense precaution in the past, but in recent years, it is more recognized as


Special Needs Training SAVE THE DATE


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24 School Transportation News • MAY 2018


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