School Bus Risk Management
The school transportation department of Redondo Beach, CA developed this list of thought provoking questions for school bus risk management. If your district suffers a serious school bus accident, be prepared to answer these types of questions:
What Specific Steps Must a Person Take to Become a School Bus Driver?
- Is there a specific initial training curriculum?
- If so, does this involve classroom training? How many hours?
- Describe the training content.
- Do you provide in-vehicle training? How many hours?
- Do you identify each driver’s areas that need improvement? Do you document this training?
- Do you provide any specific training about railroad grade crossings, loading and unloading passengers, or emergency evacuation drills?
Who Trains Your School Bus Drivers?
- What qualifications must a person have to become a school bus driver training instructor?
- Are these instructors certified? If so, how do they become certified?
- Are these instructors required to have any experience in teaching or training?
- Are they required to have experience in school bus driving or transportation?
- What are the qualifications of the instructor-trainers that train your instructors?
Do You Have a Plan For the Periodic Recertification of Your Drivers?
- What are your requirements for periodic driver recertification?
- What topics are covered in the recertification program?
- What training do your drivers receive addressing discipline and noise levels on the bus?
- Do you document the training items covered during your recertification process?
- Do you document the drivers who participate in the recertification?
Do You Have a System of Supervising Your Drivers on Their Routes?
- How many supervisors monitor driver performance? What is the ratio of supervisors to drivers?
- Do the supervisors ever ride with the drivers to monitor their performance? How often?
- How often are your drivers evaluated?
- Have you ever dismissed a driver “for cause”?
- Do you have your own guidelines and/or policies, or do you use state guidelines? What are they?
How Are School Bus Routes Established in Your District?
- Are there specific, written guidelines established for the development of bus routes?
- Who is responsible for establishing the routes?
- How often are routes re-evaluated?
- What is the National Standard for the periodic re-evaluation of school bus routes?
Do You Have Any Mechanism In Place to Identify Hazards on School Bus Routes?
- Do you follow up on reports of hazardous conditions? How?
- Is the hazardous notification policy written or verbal? Who reviews these reports?
- Do you have written guidelines that deal with specific hazardous conditions once they are identified?
How Do You Ensure That a Driver on a Route is Sufficiently Familiar With That Route Before He/She Goes Out on the Route?
- How is information about hazardous road/route conditions distributed to the various drivers?
- What is the procedure to relay information from the regular driver to a substitute driver on a route?
- Do substitute drivers receive the same information and training as your regular school bus drivers?
- Is there specific guidance given to substitute drivers on routes?
Does Anyone Routinely Check Routes for Hazardous Conditions?
- Is there a mechanism in place to check routes on a regular basis?
- Are routes checked from a school bus or from a car?
Who Is Responsible For the Specifications of the School Buses?
- Do your buses differ from those that are recognized as the “industry standard”? How?
- Have you modified your buses in any way or added any “extras”? Why?
- Do you require drivers to do pre-trip inspections of their bus before each run?
- How is this inspection conducted and recorded?
Are You Familiar With Your State and National School Bus Associations?
- Do you participate or receive any feedback from any organization?
- Are you familiar with the National Standards for School Transportation?
- Have any of these standards been adopted by your state?
Wisconsin schools can contact R&R Insurance’s School Practice Group for more information on school bus risk management, safety procedures and school district programs.