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13 TABLE 6 ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES Issue n Average Overall Rank Illegal passing of stopped buses by other 192 5.7 1 vehicles Inattentive or distracted drivers of other 187 5.0 2 vehicles Distractions (to the driver) on the bus 187 4.8 3 Student passengers not sitting in their seat 190 4.8 4 properly Passengers as pedestrians in the 188 4.6 5 loading/unloading zone Horseplay at bus stops 192 4.5 6 Violence/bullying among student 187 4.5 8 passengers Student passengers standing too close to 187 4.3 9 the road at the bus stop Noise levels on the bus 190 4.3 10 Roadway conditions (e.g., 190 4.2 12 sunken/soft shoulders, potholes, width of road) Distractions (to the driver) outside the 188 4.2 14 bus Visibility of bus stops in inclement 191 4.1 16 weather conditions (fog, snow, heavy rain) Passengers not immediately leaving 186 4.0 17 loading/unloading area Traffic congestion 189 3.9 18 Railroad crossing issues 190 3.9 20 Visibility of bus or students on curved 188 3.9 24 roads Students eating/drinking on the bus 191 3.8 25 Student inattention or distraction owing 193 3.8 27 to personal electronic devices Visibility at bus stops in hilly terrain 190 3.6 31 Children left on buses 190 3.6 32 Animal action (e.g., deer or other 184 3.5 35 wildlife) Slippery floors/stairwells 192 3.2 42 SCHOOL BUS DRIVER SAFETY ISSUES: questions are summarized in Table 17. Given the wide range DRIVER HIRING AND TRAINING ISSUES of responses, it may be helpful to focus on the median response. The average for pre-service driver training is 27.9 hours, whereas Several questions regarding the thoroughness of driver hiring the average for in-service driver training is 10.4 hours, which and training procedures were explored. Overall, it appears shows that the majority of training hours are completed before that driver screening and criminal background checks are a driver is on the road. very thorough and do not necessarily present a safety issue (see Tables 1216). In particular, the thoroughness of crimi- When considering monitor/attendant training, the number nal background checks seems to be held in high regard by the of training hours is markedly decreased in terms of median survey respondents. hours, with a median of 4 hours for pre-service training and a median of 5 hours of in-service training. Participants were asked a series of questions regarding the number of pre-service and in-service training hours that Table 18 shows the responses for the question: "What par- are mandated in their school district. The results of these ticular aspect of driver training is the most important in terms
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14 TABLE 7 EQUIPMENT AND TECHNOLOGY ISSUES Issue n Average Overall Rank Storage of passengers' personal items (e.g., 190 4.2 13 backpacks, instruments) Driver field-of-view and blind spots (i.e., 191 3.9 22 visibility issues, hood, body posts, mirrors) Considerations for special needs student 182 3.9 23 passengers Students sticking arms and heads out of 188 3.8 26 windows Keeping up with routine school bus 188 3.4 37 maintenance Restraints for wheelchairs 181 3.4 38 Storage of driver's items (e.g., purses, 192 3.4 39 clipboards, routing information) Passenger restraints for special needs 178 3.3 40 passengers Insufficient or ineffective mirrors on the school 189 2.9 47 bus Rear bumper height 169 2.9 49 School bus foot pedal design (accelerator and 180 2.7 50 brake) TABLE 8 ORGANIZATIONAL DESIGN ISSUES Issue n Mean Overall Rank Lack of sufficient funding for fleet 183 4.5 7 operation/maintenance/equipment Lack of sidewalks at or near bus stops 189 4.2 11 Security issues 189 3.9 21 Bus stops on major highways 188 3.8 29 Lack of an adequate waiting area for 188 3.7 30 passengers at bus stops Emergency evacuation procedures 191 3.5 34 Too many student passengers at a single stop 187 3.3 41 TABLE 9 TABLE 10 MOST IMPORTANT SAFETY ISSUES IN SCHOOL BUS BARRIERS TO SAFETY ISSUES (Open Ended) TRANSPORTATION (Open Ended) Response Category Frequency Response Category Frequency Funding 43 Other motorists 46 Lack of support from administration/parents 27 Passenger behavior on the bus 41 Lack of law enforcement 23 Passengers as pedestrians 24 Driver quality/training 19 Driver issues (e.g., lack of skill) 22 Uneducated public 16 Bus issues (design, maintenance) 18 Student behavior 10 Turnover, low pay, poor management 16 Other motorists 10 Lack of monitors/aides on buses 3 Other 8 Alternative transportation for students (walking, 3 Equipment/technology 6 parents driving) Lack of control 3 Road conditions 2 Politics 2 Bus security 1 No suggestion 2 Total 176 Total 169
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15 TABLE 11 TABLE 15 RECOMMENDATIONS/SUGGESTIONS FOR IN YOUR OPINION, HOW THOROUGH ARE THE SUBSTITUTE ADDRESSING ISSUES (Open Ended) DRIVER CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK PROCEDURES FOR YOUR FLEET (or in General If You Are Not Involved with a Fleet)? Response Category Frequency n Average Responses "thorough" Stronger law enforcement 23 Driver training 20 183 6.2 No suggestion 19 Increase funding 15 Educating public 12 TABLE 16 Other 12 IN YOUR OPINION, HOW THOROUGH ARE THE DRIVER TRAINING PROCEDURES FOR YOUR FLEET Student discipline 11 (or in General If You Are Not Involved with a Fleet)? Improve bus design/technology 10 Educating parents and getting their support 5 n Average Responses "thorough" More monitors/aides on buses 5 186 5.7 Other drivers/lack of control 3 Total 135 TABLE 17 HOW MANY PRE-SERVICE AND IN-SERVICE HOURS OF TRAINING ARE MANDATED? TABLE 12 IN YOUR OPINION, HOW THOROUGH ARE THE DRIVER Training n Average (h) Range (h) SCREENING PROCEDURES FOR YOUR FLEET (or in General If You Are Not Involved with a Fleet)? Pre-service driver 152 27.9 0240 In-service driver 151 10.4 056 n Average Responses "thorough" Pre-service monitor/attendant 123 10.7 0240 183 5.8 In-service monitor/attendant 122 7.5 056 TABLE 18 WHAT PARTICULAR ASPECT OF DRIVER TRAINING of safety?" The most frequent response to this question was IS THE MOST IMPORTANT IN TERMS OF SAFETY? "driver training" (particularly defensive driving). General (Open Ended) training and policy awareness, as well as student control, Response Category Responses were also frequently cited, as was the proper loading/unload- ing of passengers. Behind the wheel training and defensive driving 47 General training and policy awareness 35 Table 19 shows the responses for the question: "What, if Student control 32 Loading/unloading of passengers 27 any, areas of driving training need to be covered that are not Attention/awareness/mirror use 20 part of your training program?" Many respondents indicated Pre-trip inspection 9 that they had no suggestions. However, of those who did Emergency situations 5 make a suggestion, "student management and discipline" was Other 1 the most frequent response. Total 176 TABLE 19 TABLE 13 WHAT, IF ANY, AREAS OF DRIVING TRAINING NEED IN YOUR OPINION, HOW THOROUGH ARE THE DRIVER TO BE COVERED THAT ARE NOT PART OF YOUR CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK PROCEDURES FOR TRAINING PROGRAM? (Open Ended) YOUR FLEET (or in General If You Are Not Involved with a Fleet)? Response Category Responses n Average Responses "thorough" No suggestion 36 Student management/discipline 24 187 6.2 People/communication skills 12 Specific driving skills (e.g., backing, braking) 9 Emergency situations/first-aid 8 TABLE 14 Defensive driving 7 IN YOUR OPINION, HOW THOROUGH ARE THE SUBSTITUTE More training 6 DRIVER SCREENING PROCEDURES FOR YOUR FLEET Security 5 (or in General If You Are Not Involved with a Fleet)? Special needs students 5 n Average Responses "thorough" Other 4 Involvement of law enforcement at trainings 1 179 5.9 Total 117