Last week was annual National School Bus Safety Week, meaning the safety of students traveling to and from school was top of mind for school districts and school bus transportation providers. According to the National Safety Council, 25 million American students begin and end their day with a trip on a school bus.1 Fortunately, school buses are the safest mode of transportation for students to get to school, with 71 percent of Americans feeling confident in the current state of school bus safety.2
Even so, many Americans agree there’s room for improvement when it comes to school bus safety. The survey found that close to half of respondents believe these areas need improvement on school buses:
- more rigorous screening for drivers (55 percent)
- better tracking technology (45 percent)
- more ways for parents and school officials to monitor driver behavior (44 percent)
Survey respondents also indicated they want to be able to track school buses with their mobile devices. When asked which technologies should be integrated into school buses in the future, they thought routing software for buses to find alternative routes, GPS tracking allowing parents and school officials to know the exact location of the bus, and a downloadable app for tracking were crucially important for promoting safe driving behavior among those who transport their children. The national shortage of school bus drivers has made the need for new technologies more apparent.3
Many school bus fleets are experiencing transportation challenges that can be addressed with telematics. Student passengers suffering lengthy delays or waiting for buses that never pick them up, drivers getting directions from their passengers and concerned parents frantically searching for the whereabouts of their children could be alleviated by functionality this kind of technology offers, like live maps, optimized routes, and more accurate arrival times.2
With the concerns surrounding improving school bus safety, are you using the latest technology to promote safe driving behavior among your school bus drivers and the students they’re responsible for?
Safer school bus driving behaviors just around the corner
For school districts, parents and drivers alike, ensuring the safety of school bus passengers is crucial.
Fleet tracking systems today offer the best options to help improve efficiency and safe driving behavior. Route optimization technology can help reduce the number of drivers needed, which helps cut down on costs and frustrations. Along with optimizing routes and dispatching, they can also detect and collect data on harsh driving activity.
Things like speeding, quick starts, hard braking and harsh cornering all put drivers and their passengers at risk. By alerting drivers to these risky behaviors, businesses can significantly decrease the chances that their buses with be involved in an accident, helping them maintain a healthy reputation and reduce liability.
Start by implementing a safer driving program
GPS fleet tracking solutions provide insight into driving behaviors and help you determine the most effective ways to address potentially unsafe behaviors and enforce safety-related best practices. A safer driving program that incentivizes drivers who exhibit unsafe behaviors the least or who improve the most can help you motivate your drivers in a tangible way.
Aggregated driving data can be compiled into a simple dashboard, exporting driver habits into a simple scorecard or report card. This allows fleet managers to easily identify and communicate high-risk drivers and help reduce risk.
Take monitoring a step further by adding near real-time alerts around dangerous driving, so any high-risk behavior is caught immediately and can be addressed.