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“I think there comes a point at which you burn out a little bit,” Sunderland explained. “I think anytime you can work smarter rather than harder, it’s a good way to go. It will help you keep tabs on everything way easier and prevent problems before they ever happen.” He pointed to technology required by state law designed to help drivers at the conclusion of their routes find sleeping or hiding children.


“There have been times when


drivers had to go back there and saw that at the last stop there’s a kid back there trying to hide, and it’s made us get those kids home when they’re supposed to get home,” he noted, adding that technology going forward will be a safety issue. “I think we need to be progressive and move forward because truth- fully, the other piece of the puzzle is … drivers are hard to come by. It’s difficult to hire bus drivers, so a lot of times you have to make things work with less and technology helps us with that as well.” He advises anyone new to tech-


nology to first adopt on solution. “Don’t try and do everything at


once,” Sunderland said. “Take one thing, train your people, get it to work, get comfortable with it, and then move on to the next thing.” He said no one wants to get themselves into a situation where they have a plethora of technology that doesn’t work in unison or isn’t being used to their full potential. “If you’re going to do things


halfway, that’s just going to make people mad. Ultimately, pick one thing and just try and go with it and start from there,” he said. “It’s a learning process for everybody.” His final advice was to do


research and pick the tech- nology that works best for the operation. Sunderland added that as a supervisor, make sure you are comfortable with the technology first. “If you’re not comfortable with


it, your drivers aren’t going to be comfortable with it, that’s for sure,” he concluded. ●


Find more articles on how technology is playing a role in transportation operations nationwide at stnonline.com/ technology.


68 School Transportation News • SEPTEMBER 2021


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