About three-fourths (74 percent) of respondents to a recent survey said that no training-related budget cuts were made at their operation this school year.
That finding and others in SBF's new Driver Training Survey suggest that the industry's commitment to thorough instruction of school bus drivers remains strong — even in a time of widespread budget shortfalls.
The full survey appears in our forthcoming April/May issue, but here I'll share a few other interesting findings that don't appear in the print edition.
In the questionnaire, I asked school transportation managers and trainers whether they cover certain topics in their operation's training program. In most cases, more than 90 percent of respondents answered in the affirmative.
Question: Do your school bus drivers receive training on these topics?
• Avoiding distracted driving — Yes: 96 percent; No: 4 percent
• How to instruct passengers on bus safety procedures — Yes: 95 percent; No: 5 percent
• Student behavior management — Yes: 98 percent; No: 2 percent
• Dealing with parents — Yes: 83 percent; No: 17 percent
• Performing post-trip bus inspections — Yes: 97 percent; No: 3 percent
A similarly positive finding came from a question on transporting students with disabilities.
Question: If your operation transports any special-needs students, do the bus drivers who transport them receive any specific special-needs training?
Among the operations that do transport special-needs students, 93 percent answered yes, while 7 percent answered no.
I also asked a few open-ended questions that I didn't end up including in the survey feature. Here are some notable responses to one of them.
Question: What is the most important factor to look for when selecting driver trainers?
• "Excellent driving and people skills"
• "Leadership skills, organizational skills, people skills"
• "You want someone who cares about the job, not just the money."
• "Knowledge of laws, regulations and vehicle operation"
• "Driving record"
• "Are they currently practicing all current procedures and safety rules on their own route with students and themselves?"
• "Attention to detail"
• "Knowledge and the ability to convey information clearly. Need someone well liked by other drivers and must have a good sense of humor."
Be sure to check out our April/May print issue for the full results of the new Driver Training Survey. Premium members can also download it and other research on our website here.
— Thomas McMahon, executive editor
| posted on Monday, April 09, 2012 11:16 AM