With back to school season just about in full swing all over the country, it’s no wonder parents everywhere are debating whether their kid will ride the school bus to and from school or not. This decision doesn’t come easily for some parents. There is a lot to think about when it comes to allowing your kids to ride the school bus or not. Today I wanted to share 5 things to ask your child’s school bus driver. Each question will help ease your worries and help assist in making sure you build a form of trust and communication with the school bus driver. When you take the time to ask these questions and receive answers that work well for you, only then will you feel 100% confident putting your kids on that school bus and entrusting their life to another human for transition to and from school. This post has been written in partnership with Zonar Systems, though all opinions are my own.
5 Things to Ask your Child’s School Bus Driver
What qualifications have you earned to drive a school bus?
According to federal law, bus drivers must have a commercial driver’s license. Other regulations vary by state and district, but they all require criminal background checks as well as random drug and alcohol testing. With driver shortages at historic levels, it’s tempting to cut corners and use non-qualified drivers.
How do you safeguard children getting on the right bus?
Younger students do not always know what bus to get on and sometimes inadvertently follow classmates onto the wrong bus. When school begins, drivers and teachers should be preparing students to understand where to go and who rides with them. Schools should also utilize a bus monitor to assist students and think about technology solutions that help verify if a student is on the appropriate bus.
How do you handle bullying or other inappropriate bus behavior?
Asking this question is important on two fronts: 1) a trained bus driver should be able to handle such situations and give parents peace-of-mind; and 2) if the driver is not trained, parents should speak to their local school boards immediately to make it happen. Unfortunately, about ten percent of all reported middle and high school bullying happens on the school bus. Student management of other children onboard buses is the number one safety issue for drivers.
How do you safely load and unload the bus?
Drivers are required by law to stop for a school bus when it’s loading or unloading passengers, but oftentimes they don’t. There are a lot of things bus drivers can do to improve loading and unloading safety, like creating a universally recognized safe-to-cross signal. The point of asking this question is to ensure that the driver is actively thinking about loading and unloading safety.
Are there other things the school can do to improve bus safety outcomes?
School districts need to invest in the latest safety equipment and technology for school-age pedestrians. One safety tool making headway in the busing industry is “pupil transportation” technology. This tech improves the safety and security of transporting children by allowing drivers and parents to quickly see where and when riders enter and exit the bus. In the case of an emergency, all the information is in one place to locate specific passengers.
There you have it, 5 things to ask your kids bus driver so that you feel more at ease making the decision to send the kids on the school bus each morning and afternoon to arrive both at school and home safely. Be sure to discuss all school bus safety rules with your kids as well, this way they know what is expected of them as they ride on the school bus for the first time.
These tips came from Kevin Mest, Senior Vice President and GM of Passenger Services at Zonar Systems. Founded in 2001, Zonar has pioneered smart fleet management solutions throughout the vocational, pupil, mass transit and commercial trucking industries. Transporting students safely is a top priority for all school bus fleets, and Zonar’s expansive set of solutions helps school bus fleet managers increase bus transportation safety and security.