driver training, but sticks to best practices on a daily basis, such as prohibiting unnecessary talk on two-way radios and requiring riders to put away cell phones. One of the district’s biggest challenges for its 131-bus fleet is retaining drivers after they’ve been trained, which is an issue nationwide. “When we do hire drivers, they come for their CDL license and

move on to better paying jobs most of the time,” said Lisa Wheeler, a driver-trainer who is a member of the BCSC training team.

MAKING EVERYONE STICK TO SAFETY Many districts adhere to a school bus safety code of conduct

that prohibits drivers from eating, drinking and using cell phones while on the road. Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia ban any school bus driver usage of a cell phone, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures. Driver distractions are further reduced when students and parents adhere to conduct and safety policies. Mandatory lap-shoulder seat belts are increasingly used to

reduce student behavior problems that distract drivers, as School Transportation News has tracked among its readers. But Raab said what is just as important as installing safety devices is creating a culture that holds everyone accountable for the policies. “It’s not a one-way street. In order for policies to work,

leaders and the whole organization have to support it,” he added. “Some districts don’t want to discipline students, and the burden becomes harder for the driver.”

School districts that need supplemental support for policy

adherence should inquire with their insurance providers. Glatfelter Public Practice offers its clients free training as an added resource for operational risk management.

EMPLOYING TECHNOLOGY TO IDENTIFY DISTRACTIONS Either proactively or reactively, school bus operators aim to eliminate driver distractions with the help of technology. Onboard, smart video cameras integrate into cloud-based complaint manage- ment systems that allow operators to quickly respond to reported issues and concerns with buses and drivers. Data generated from camera systems can identify distracted drivers and risky driving maneuvers, giving bus operators an opportunity to coach drivers on improved safety for preventing collisions. Durham School Services, for example, is installing DriveCam nationwide to monitor drivers in response to the fatal 2016 Chatta- nooga bus crash. “It’s vitally important for fleets to do whatever they can to

ensure the safest environment possible,” said Jason Palmer, chief operating officer at SmartDrive, a California-based technology


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