Fixing The Certified School Bus Driver Drought

Posted in Blog on September 9th, 2015.

School Training Solutions is fortunate to get great guest bloggers. Today, Frank Smith with American Bus Sales, provides excellent insight into the school bus driver shortage that is being experienced across the country.


 How To Fix The Certified School Bus Driver Drought


School Bus Driver Drought
Copyright: leekris / 123RF Stock Photo

School is back in session across most of the nation, but that doesn’t mean school administrators are lacking fires to put out and problems to solve. Many schools are still struggling to find school bus drivers to adequately staff the number of routes they need to get students home in an efficient and safe manner.

Driver shortages fueled by a combination of factors including shrinking budgets and industry competition are causing many school districts to be forced to cut down on routes and services. This can lead to dangerous situations such as bus overcrowding and long trips in extreme weather.

In some regions, one of the biggest reasons for driver shortages is competition from the oil field and a lack of certified drivers to fill the needed positions. Districts with tight budgets have no means of competing against oil field transportation jobs that pay well and provide benefits. Even when they find applicants with a safe driving record and clean background check, the applicants often lack a CDL and other certifications needed to drive school vehicles.

The cost and time needed to train these drivers can make the prospect of hiring and properly training and certifying unlicensed applicants prohibitive for many schools, limiting their hiring options further.

School Bus Driver Drought
Copyright: kzenon / 123RF Stock Photo

Thankfully, some districts have found there is a cost effective, customized solution to get potential drivers thoroughly and properly trained without having to manage the steep costs of classroom training. While it still requires a significant time investment, online training such as the courses offered from School Training Solutions and Oklahoma Association for Pupil Transportation (OAPT) is flexible enough to help schools get trained and safe drivers behind the wheels helping children get to and from school without incident every day.

Rather than relying on a set schedule of lengthy classroom sessions to train drivers, online training allows potential school transportation employees to approach training on their own schedule. That means not only can schools use the program to expedite committed applicants to get them driving routes sooner rather than later, but those taking the programs will also receive more hands-on, active training than is typically found in a classroom setting.

Districts don’t have to wait for a large enough pool to form to necessitate classes to get drivers trained, and there’s no more traveling or trying to squeeze an extended class session into a busy schedule. The training is always available for people who have the time.

School Training Solutions works directly with states and school districts to provide a customized program that specifically meets the training needs of individual districts and their drivers, providing a more comprehensive and effective training solution so both districts and drivers are happier with the training process and results.

The comprehensive programs also help drivers learn to handle factors that lead to high turnover rates for districts, such as child behavior on the bus.

Dealing with rambunctious children on a daily basis can be highly stressful to drivers improperly trained to handle these situations. This can result in a high turnover rates and unsafe situations onboard. However, better training solutions can largely avoid these problems by providing drivers a lower stress environment and resolving behavioral problems before they lead to dangerous situations.

While online training can be highly effective for working to fill a driver shortage, it also has several benefits that will provide a safer and more reliable fleet all around. Buses live longer when driven by better trained operators, and School Training Solutions’ training is built to help drivers learn the best practices for extending a vehicle’s life.

While it is easy to forget the simple practices such as proper braking and thorough inspection processes when they aren’t reinforced, complete documentation and reporting can help administrators pinpoint drivers’ weaknesses and more effectively provide positive reinforcement to improve problem areas.

Online training from School Training Solutions is an effective solution for schools struggling to fill the routes needed to get children to and from school safely and efficiently. Its numerous benefits and flexible design also make it a valuable option for all districts needing to prepare new employees for duty or to help veteran employees brush up for recertification.

Thank you for the blog post, Frank!

Frank Smith can be reached at American Bus Sales.
America Bus Sales is always available to help you meet your transportation and fleet needs!

American Bus Sales


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