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11 CHAPTER FOUR SYNTHESIS SURVEY RESULTS DESCRIPTION OF RESPONDENTS AND FLEETS Table 5 provides the responses of driver and monitor safety issues. Driver turnover was ranked as the greatest driver A total of 198 individuals participated in this survey, safety issue, followed by driver cell phone use and driver although not everyone fully completed all survey items. physical and mental health. It is important to note the rank- Therefore, response tables for individual items show some ing of these issues in comparison to the overall issues. fluctuation. Table 6 presents the responses of environmental issues. Table 1 shows the breakdown of participants by their job This categorization included the greatest number of survey title/role. In many cases, individuals indicated serving more items, and represents many of the issues that were ranked as than one role, so the total will exceed the number of individ- the greatest threat to safety. Illegal passing of stopped buses uals who completed the survey. A majority of participants by other vehicles was rated as the greatest safety threat not were school bus drivers, closely followed by school bus fleet only in terms of environmental issues, but overall when all managers. Beyond these classifications, however, a variety items are taken into consideration. This is followed by in- of positions/roles within the school bus transportation field attentive or distracted drivers of other vehicles. Thus, based are represented. on these survey data, the two top safety issues are related to the actions of other drivers. Many of the other top safety Participants had an average of 17 years of experience in issues (both in terms of the environment and overall) involve the area of school bus transportation, with a range of 1 to the actions of the student passengers, including both behav- 40 years (n = 193; Table 2). ior on (e.g., not sitting in their seat properly) and off the bus (standing too close to the road at a bus stop). Roadway con- To estimate the sizes of the school systems that partici- ditions (e.g., potholes) were ranked as the number 12 safety pants were associated with, a survey question asked for an issue, and visibility of bus stops was ranked as numbers 16 approximate number of pupils in the school system. The num- (as a result of inclement weather), 24 (owing to curved ber of pupils ranged from 37 to 487,000, with a mean of just roads), and 31 (as a result of hilly terrain). over 20,000 pupils (Table 3). Table 7 shows the responses of equipment and technology Respondents were asked to report how many of the issues. Storage of passengers' personal items was the top vehicles in their fleet are equipped with GPS or automatic safety issue in this category. Driver field-of-view and blind vehicle locator (AVL) technology. As shown in Table 4, spots was the second safety issue in this category, although there was considerable variation in responses, ranging it ranked number 22 overall. This is an interesting finding from 0 to 30,000 vehicles with GPS and 0 to 15,000 vehicles given that "insufficient or ineffective mirrors" was ranked so with AVL. low (number 47). This may provide evidence that the overall body style of school buses is in need of improvement (e.g., OVERALL SAFETY ISSUES (RATED AND RANKED) a shorter hood surface to improve visibility of the forward environment). It is important to note that overall equipment The survey included a list of 51 "overall safety issues" that and technology issues were rated as some of the least impor- participants were to rate based on the severity of the issue. A tant safety issues. seven-point Likert scale, where 1 = "Not at all a safety issue" and 7 = "A very serious safety issue," was used. The descrip- Table 8 shows the responses of organizational design issues. tive statistics for these items are listed here in several tables Organizational design issues pertain to aspects of adminis- organized by driver and monitor issues, environmental issues, tration, policies, regulations, and politics of the school trans- equipment and technology issues, and organizational design portation field. Lack of sufficient funding for fleets was the issues. These items were rank ordered based on the mean top organizational design issue and was ranked number 7 over- score, and each item has its "overall rank" listed in the fol- all. This was followed by a lack of sidewalks at or near bus lowing tables. The rankings go across all four issue areas. A stops (ranked number 11), which would provide a safer envi- full list of the issues with their ranking in chronological order ronment and prompt for students to keep off the roadway is available in Appendix F. when entering or exiting the bus.