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6 SAFETY CONCERNS IN A program called "Team Safe" was developed and used in THE DRIVING ENVIRONMENT one school district in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, in the early 1990s. It was developed to elevate the driver in his or her The literature reviewed presented four fundamental areas of importance for the safety of school children and thus to be concern within the driving environment: more implicit in discussions and decisions regarding student management and behavior in school bus operations. Although · Illegal passing of stopped buses by other vehicles, the program got little traction, it was received with positive · Passengers as pedestrians, results in Allegheny County and serves as a model for needed · Student behavior on buses, and restructuring for school bus operations from the student · Passengers with disabilities. management and behavior perspective (Daecher 1991). Stringent traffic laws in all states prohibit motorists from Special needs student transportation is also a concern for passing a stopped school bus that is loading or unloading drivers. Issues of safe passenger securement, health monitor- passengers (Wisconsin Department of Education 2006; CBS ing, and safe transportation are mutually important issues with News 2007; Bus Laws n.d.; NHTSA, n.d.a). The loading and regard to special needs students. Drivers' physical capabilities unloading of students is a primary consideration and was (to maneuver wheelchairs with passengers) and their emo- found repeatedly throughout the literature review. Establish- tional states (to accept and understand unusual but expected ing appropriate sheltered open and visible locations for school behaviors of special needs students who may be physically and bus stops; minimizing the need for students to cross streams mentally challenged) are important. Drivers' knowledge of of traffic; the use of appropriate safety equipment on school health issues for special needs students, especially those who buses when loading and unloading; and the need for drivers are harnessed or restrained because of their physical condi- to be attentive and checking around and along the bus dur- tions, is also of concern (Committee on Injury and Poison ing loading and unloading procedures and before proceed- Prevention 2001; Illinois State Board of Education n.d.b). ing into traffic is discussed throughout the training litera- Specific information regarding students' needs for medication ture cited previously and other document sources (NHTSA or handling during an emergency are also important. Most of 1974, 1998; Special Report 222 . . . 1989; Daecher 1991; these issues are effectively managed through training and the De Santis et al. 1998; School Bus Stops . . . 2005; School Bus development of an Individual Education Plan for each special Safety Rules 2008). needs student (NHTSA 2002b; Illinois State Board of Edu- cation n.d.b). Thus, the quality of training and information Based on our literature review, student management has provided to school bus drivers is critically important for all been a consistent issue of concern in the school bus indus- aspects of student management. try; however, the texture of concern has changed over time. Many school bus drivers cite student behavior as their most pressing concern. Controlling unacceptable behavior on TECHNOLOGY AND EQUIPMENT the bus by a driver has been a longstanding issue; however, in recent years "bullying" has grown in its frequency and School bus design is largely regulated by the Federal Motor breadth across age groups. Schadlow (1987) defined the Vehicle Safety Standards (49 CFR Part 571). Thirty-three need for trust and respect between the driver and students motor vehicle safety standards apply to school buses or multi- on a school bus and assertive communication as a basis for function school activity buses (LeMon 1998; NHTSA n.d.a). controlling behavior. This publication also stresses parental The most recently enacted change to these vehicle safety stan- control and support as vitally important to controlling dards applicable to school bus activities was for multifunction students' behavior. school activity buses. Section 571.3 of the regulation was amended to include the multifunction school activity bus, Protecting children from each other, while simultaneously which is a school bus that is not used to transport students to maneuvering a large commercial vehicle through traffic, takes and from home and school bus stops. With this change, this skill and understanding on the driver's part. In addition, in type of bus must comply with all applicable standards for today's world, the possibility of weapons must be considered school buses, which addresses concerns in the literature anywhere in the school environment, including on the bus. that vehicles used for field trips and other types of activities Violent incidents on school buses and at bus stops are not in transporting students meet certain structural standards uncommon and are not limited to urban settings. However, (National Transportation Safety Board 1999, 2000). Every how a driver can control behavior is in part affected by possi- year, on average, 20 school-aged children are fatally injured ble disciplinary repercussions. If school districts are soft on as a result of school transportation-related incidents. Half of discipline regarding unacceptable behavior on school buses, these are school-aged pedestrians killed by school transporta- the job of the bus driver is even more difficult (Brooks 1995; tion vehicles (School Transportation-Related Crashes 2006). Education World 1997; American Public Health Association This underscores the continuing need for improvements 2005; American Federation of Teachers n.d.; Illinois State in hood design, windshields, and other features that might Board of Education n.d.a). improve driver visibility.