Winston Dillard Drivers Union

A United Effort to Keep Kids Safe

Student Safety on the School Bus

Student Safety on the School Bus is paramount

When a parent is waiting for their kids at the bus stop it’s hard to imagine such a large, highly visible vehicle getting into an accident. It should also be noted that school bus drivers are required to go through rigorous training because they’re responsible for transporting so many young passengers and are required to have a School Bus Drivers Endorsement from the Oregon Department of Education (Link to Oregon Department of Education web site). The requirements of this endorsement are stringent and may be viewed here (Also linked to the Oregon Department of Education web site. 

School bus accidents are actually fairly rare, and the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (Linked to NHTSA web site) ranks buses as the safest form of transportation when it comes to getting children to and from school. However, there are several causes that seem to be at play in the vast majority of bus accidents. Four of those causes are described below.

Driver Distraction

By now, it should be clear to all drivers that it’s not a good idea to multitask behind the wheel, simply look at some of the US government’s distracted driving statistics (Link to the NHSA web site). For people driving themselves in passenger vehicles, avoiding distraction may be as simple as putting away all electronic devices. School bus drivers, on the other hand, are carrying dozens of young passengers who could create any number of distractions. Children are generally taught not to distract their bus driver as part of school bus safety training, but even just one or two disruptive children could create a significant distraction. This is an area where all factions need to focus the most attention because it is the number one cause of accidents.
What parents can do to help.
What Schools are doing to help.

Driver Fatigue

There’s no way to mandate that bus drivers get a good night’s sleep before taking kids to school in the morning, and tired drivers are more prone to making errors. First Student observes all drivers as they arrive in the morning to check for any signs of fatigue.

Mechanical Errors

Sometimes a school bus crash is not actually the bus driver’s fault and even though school buses undergo regular maintenance to ensure that they’re safe, things can happen. First Student has a qualified mechanic on duty every morning to repair or place the bus out of service if there is anything unsafe with the bus. The mechanics work on their own and with the drivers who are also required to perform a pre-trip inspection at the beginning of everyday. If there is an issue, frequently the repair is made very quickly by the mechanic at that point in time.

Other Driver Errors

Sometimes it’s not the bus that causes an accident, it’s another driver. Winston Dillard drivers are all trained to be hyper sensitive to other drivers and allow for the other drivers mistakes. Fortunately most of those mistakes do not result in accidents because of this additional training.