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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2010. Special Safety Concerns of the School Bus Industry. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14351.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2010. Special Safety Concerns of the School Bus Industry. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14351.
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TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH BOARD WASHINGTON, D.C. 2010 www.TRB.org COMMERCIAL TRUCK AND BUS SAFETY SYNTHESIS PROGRAM CTBSSP SYNTHESIS 17 Research Sponsored by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration SUBJECT AREAS Operations and Safety Special Safety Concerns of the School Bus Industry A Synthesis of Safety Practice CONSULTANTS DOUGLAS M. WIEGAND, DARRELL BOWMAN, and RICHARD J. HANOWSKI Virginia Tech Transportation Institute Blacksburg, Virginia CARMEN DAECHER Daecher Consulting Group, Inc. Camp Hill, Pennsylvania GENE BERGOFFEN MaineWay Services Fryeburg, Maine

COMMERCIAL TRUCK AND BUS SAFETY SYNTHESIS PROGRAM Safety is a principal focus of government agencies and private-sector orga- nizations concerned with transportation. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) was established within the Department of Trans- portation on January 1, 2000, pursuant to the Motor Carrier Safety Improve- ment Act of 1999. Formerly a part of the Federal Highway Administration, the FMCSA’s primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle- related fatalities and injuries. Administration activities contribute to ensuring safety in motor carrier operations through strong enforcement of safety reg- ulations, targeting high-risk carriers and commercial motor vehicle drivers; improving safety information systems and commercial motor vehicle tech- nologies; strengthening commercial motor vehicle equipment and operating standards; and increasing safety awareness. To accomplish these activities, the Administration works with federal, state, and local enforcement agencies, the motor carrier industry, labor, safety interest groups, and others. In addi- tion to safety, security-related issues are also receiving significant attention in light of the terrorist events of September 11, 2001. Administrators, commercial truck and bus carriers, government regulators, and researchers often face problems for which information already exists, either in documented form or as undocumented experience and practice. This information may be fragmented, scattered, and underevaluated. As a conse- quence, full knowledge of what has been learned about a problem may not be brought to bear on its solution. Costly research findings may go unused, valu- able experience may be overlooked, and due consideration may not be given to recommended practices for solving or alleviating the problem. There is information available on nearly every subject of concern to com- mercial truck and bus safety. Much of it derives from research or from the work of practitioners faced with problems in their day-to-day work. To pro- vide a systematic means for assembling and evaluating such useful informa- tion and to make it available to the commercial truck and bus industry, the Commercial Truck and Bus Safety Synthesis Program (CTBSSP) was estab- lished by the FMCSA to undertake a series of studies to search out and syn- thesize useful knowledge from all available sources and to prepare docu- mented reports on current practices in the subject areas of concern. Reports from this endeavor constitute the CTBSSP Synthesis series, which collects and assembles the various forms of information into single concise documents pertaining to specific commercial truck and bus safety problems or sets of closely related problems The CTBSSP, administered by the Transportation Research Board, began in early 2002 in support of the FMCSA’s safety research programs. The pro- gram initiates two synthesis studies annually that address concerns in the area of commercial truck and bus safety. A synthesis report is a document that summarizes existing practice in a specific technical area based typically on a literature search and a survey of relevant organizations (e.g., state DOTs, enforcement agencies, commercial truck and bus companies, or other organizations appropriate for the specific topic). The primary users of the syn- theses are practitioners who work on issues or problems using diverse approaches in their individual settings. The program is modeled after the suc- cessful synthesis programs currently operated as part of the National Coop- erative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) and the Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP). This synthesis series reports on various practices, making recommendations where appropriate. Each document is a compendium of the best knowledge available on measures found to be successful in resolving specific problems. To develop these syntheses in a comprehensive manner and to ensure inclu- sion of significant knowledge, available information assembled from numer- ous sources, including a large number of relevant organizations, is analyzed. For each topic, the project objectives are (1) to locate and assemble docu- mented information; (2) to learn what practice has been used for solving or alleviating problems; (3) to identify all ongoing research; (4) to learn what problems remain largely unsolved; and (5) to organize, evaluate, and docu- ment the useful information that is acquired. Each synthesis is an immediately useful document that records practices that were acceptable within the limi- tations of the knowledge available at the time of its preparation. The CTBSSP is governed by a Program Oversight Panel consisting of indi- viduals knowledgeable in the area of commercial truck and bus safety from a number of perspectives—commercial truck and bus carriers, key industry trade associations, state regulatory agencies, safety organizations, academia, and related federal agencies. Major responsibilities of the panel are to (1) provide general oversight of the CTBSSP and its procedures, (2) annually select syn- thesis topics, (3) refine synthesis scopes, (4) select researchers to prepare each synthesis, (5) review products, and (6) make publication recommendations. Each year, potential synthesis topics are solicited through a broad indus- try-wide process. Based on the topics received, the Program Oversight Panel selects new synthesis topics based on the level of funding provided by the FMCSA. In late 2002, the Program Oversight Panel selected two task-order contractor teams through a competitive process to conduct syntheses for Fis- cal Years 2003 through 2005. CTBSSP SYNTHESIS 17 Project MC-21 ISSN 1544-6808 ISBN: 978-0-309-14248-9 Library of Congress Control Number 2009938317 © 2010 National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. COPYRIGHT INFORMATION Authors herein are responsible for the authenticity of their materials and for obtaining written permissions from publishers or persons who own the copyright to any previously published or copyrighted material used herein. Cooperative Research Programs (CRP) grants permission to reproduce material in this publication for classroom and not-for-profit purposes. Permission is given with the understanding that none of the material will be used to imply TRB, AASHTO, FAA, FHWA, FMCSA, FTA, or Transit Development Corporation endorsement of a particular product, method, or practice. It is expected that those reproducing the material in this document for educational and not-for-profit uses will give appropriate acknowledgment of the source of any reprinted or reproduced material. For other uses of the material, request permission from CRP. NOTICE The project that is the subject of this report was a part of the Commercial Truck and Bus Safety Synthesis Program conducted by the Transportation Research Board with the approval of the Governing Board of the National Research Council. Such approval reflects the Governing Board’s judgment that the program concerned is appropriate with respect to both the purposes and resources of the National Research Council. The opinions and conclusions expressed or implied are those of the research agency that performed the research, and they are not necessarily those of the Transportation Research Board, the National Research Council, or the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Each report is reviewed and accepted for publication according to procedures established and monitored by the Transportation Research Board Executive Committee and the Governing Board of the National Research Council. The Transportation Research Board, the National Research Council, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (sponsor of the Commercial Truck and Bus Safety Synthesis Program) do not endorse products or manufacturers. Trade or manufacturers’ names appear herein solely because they are considered essential to the clarity and completeness of the project reporting. Published reports of the COMMERCIAL TRUCK AND BUS SAFETY SYNTHESIS PROGRAM are available from: Transportation Research Board Business Office 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 and can be ordered through the Internet at http://www.trb.org/bookstore Printed in the United States of America

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished schol- ars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. On the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and techni- cal matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Acad- emy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achieve- ments of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, on its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academyís purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Acad- emy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scien- tific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both the Academies and the Insti- tute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. The Transportation Research Board is one of six major divisions of the National Research Council. The mission of the Transportation Research Board is to provide leadership in transportation innovation and progress through research and information exchange, conducted within a setting that is objective, interdisci- plinary, and multimodal. The Board’s varied activities annually engage about 7,000 engineers, scientists, and other transportation researchers and practitioners from the public and private sectors and academia, all of whom contribute their expertise in the public interest. The program is supported by state transportation depart- ments, federal agencies including the component administrations of the U.S. Department of Transportation, and other organizations and individuals interested in the development of transportation. www.TRB.org www.national-academies.org

CTBSSP OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE CHAIR STEPHEN CAMPBELL Campbell Consulting LLC, Alexandria, VA MEMBERS LAMONT BYRD International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Washington, DC B. SCOTT CLAFFEY Great West Casualty Company, Bloomington, ID CHRISTOPHER CREAN Peter Pan Bus Lines, Inc., Springfield, MA ALESSANDRO “ALEX” GUARIENTO MV Transportation, Inc., Plano, TX BRENDA LANTZ North Dakota State University, Lakewood, CO NORM LITTLER American Bus Association, Washington, DC DEAN NEWELL Maverick Transportation LLC, N. Little Rock, AR DAVID OSIECKI American Trucking Associations, Alexandria, VA E. JAN SKOUBY Missouri Department of Transportation, Jefferson City, MO CARI SULLIVAN Two Men and a Truck International, Inc., Lansing, MI TOM WEAKLEY Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association Foundation, Grain Valley, MO GREER WOODRUFF J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc., Lowell, AR CHRISTOPHER ZEILINGER Community Transportation Association of America, Washington, DC ALBERT ALVAREZ Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Washington, DC (Liaison) MARTIN WALKER Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Washington, DC (Liaison) MICHAEL S. “MIKE” GRIFFITH Federal Highway Administration, Washington, DC (Liaison) JOHN C. NICHOLAS Federal Highway Administration, Washington, DC (Liaison) GREG HULL American Public Transportation Association, Washington, DC (Liaison) LEO PENNE American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials, Washington, DC (Liaison) CHARLES W. “CHUCK” NIESSNER Transportation Research Board, Washington, DC (Liaison) RICHARD PAIN Transportation Research Board, Washington, DC (Liaison) CRP STAFF FOR CTBSSP SYNTHESIS 17 CHRISTOPHER W. JENKS, Director, Cooperative Research Programs CRAWFORD F. JENCKS, Deputy Director, Cooperative Research Programs NANDA SRINIVASAN, Senior Program Officer EILEEN P. DELANEY, Director of Publications CTBSSP SYNTHESIS STAFF STEPHEN R. GODWIN, Director for Studies and Special Programs JON M. WILLIAMS, Program Director, IDEA and Synthesis Studies DONNA VLASAK, Senior Program Officer DON TIPPMAN, Editor CHERYL KEITH, Senior Program Assistant ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The study team for this synthesis included individuals from the Cen- ter for Truck and Bus Safety at the Virginia Tech Transportation Insti- tute (VTTI), Daecher Consulting Group, and MaineWay Services. Daecher Consulting Group explored a variety of sources to assemble the literature review content of this report, whereas VTTI researchers developed, implemented, and analyzed the synthesis survey. VTTI would like to thank Stephane Babcock at School Transportation News and Thomas McMahon of School Bus Fleet for their help in recruiting participants by advertising this project. We would also like to thank the various fleet managers and state directors of transportation who helped to widely disseminate the survey. In addition, we would like to thank the anonymous members of the peer review committee that aided in developing the final synthesis survey content. Finally, thanks to Gene Bergoffen for his support throughout this project.

Administrators, commercial truck and bus carriers, government regulators, and researchers often face problems for which information already exists, either in documented form or as undocumented experience and practice. This information may be fragmented, scattered, and underevaluated. As a consequence, full knowledge of what has been learned about a problem may not be brought to bear on its solution. Costly research findings may go unused, valuable experience may be overlooked, and due consideration may not be given to recommended practices for solving or alleviating the problem. There is information available on nearly every subject of concern to commercial truck and bus safety. Much of it derives from research or from the work of practitioners faced with prob- lems in their day-to-day jobs. To provide a systematic means for assembling and evaluating such useful information and to make it available to the commercial truck and bus industry, the Commercial Truck and Bus Safety Synthesis Program (CTBSSP) was established by the Fed- eral Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to undertake a series of studies to search out and synthesize useful knowledge from all available sources and to prepare documented reports on current practices in the subject areas of concern. Reports from this endeavor con- stitute the CTBSSP Synthesis series, which collects and assembles information into single concise documents pertaining to specific commercial truck and bus safety problems. The CTBSSP, administered by the Transportation Research Board, was authorized in late 2001 and began in 2002 in support of the FMCSA’s safety research programs. The program initiates several synthesis studies annually that address issues in the area of commercial truck and bus safety. A synthesis report is a document that summarizes existing practice in a spe- cific technical area based typically on a literature search and a survey of relevant organiza- tions (e.g., state DOTs, enforcement agencies, commercial truck and bus companies, or other organizations appropriate for the specific topic). The primary users of the syntheses are prac- titioners who work on issues or problems using diverse approaches in their individual settings. This synthesis series reports on various practices; each document is a compendium of the best knowledge available on measures found to be successful in resolving specific prob- lems. To develop these syntheses in a comprehensive manner and to ensure inclusion of sig- nificant knowledge, available information assembled from numerous sources is analyzed. For each topic, the project objectives are (1) to locate and assemble documented infor- mation; (2) to learn what practices have been used for solving or alleviating problems; (3) to identify relevant, ongoing research; (4) to learn what problems remain largely unsolved; and (5) to organize, evaluate, and document the useful information that is acquired. Each synthesis is an immediately useful document that records practices that were acceptable within the limitations of the knowledge available at the time of its preparation. FOREWORD Every weekday in the school year school transportation systems in the United States operate approximately 440,000 yellow school buses to provide safe transportation for more than 24 million school-aged children. This synthesis documents the various safety issues faced by the school bus industry. Safety issues include each aspect of school bus operations, including the driver, environment, equipment/technology, and organizational design. Information was gathered through a literature review and a survey on school bus safety issues that was disseminated to a variety of professionals associated with school bus operations. Douglas M. Wiegand, Darrell Bowman, and Richard J. Hanowski of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, Blacksburg, Virginia; Carmen Daecher of Daecher Consulting Group, Camp Hill, Pennsylvania; and Gene Bergoffen of MaineWay Services, Fryeburg, Maine, collected and synthesized the information and wrote the report. The Commercial Truck and Bus Safety Synthesis Program Oversight Committee members are acknowledged on the preceding page. This synthesis is an immediately useful document that records the practices that were acceptable within the limitations of the knowledge available at the time of its preparation. As progress in research and practice continues, new knowledge will be added to that now at hand. PREFACE By Jon M. Williams Program Director Transportation Research Board

CONTENTS 1 SUMMARY 3 CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION Background, 3 Objectives and Scope, 3 5 CHAPTER TWO LITERATURE REVIEW Safety Concerns Regarding School Bus Drivers, 5 Safety Concerns in the Driving Environment, 6 Technology and Equipment, 6 Organizational Design, 7 Safety of School Buses Compared with Other Modes, 8 9 CHAPTER THREE SYNTHESIS SURVEY DEVELOPMENT, PEER REVIEW, AND FOCUS GROUP AND METHODS Participant Recruitment for Focus Groups, 9 Methods and Results, 9 Participant Recruitment for Survey, 9 11 CHAPTER FOUR SYNTHESIS SURVEY RESULTS Description of Respondents and Fleets, 11 Overall Safety Issues (Rated and Ranked), 11 Overall Safety Issues (Comparisons Between Drivers and Non-Drivers), 12 Overall Safety Issues (Open-Ended), 12 School Bus Driver Safety Issues: Driver Hiring and Training Issues, 13 Equipment and Technology Safety Issues, 16 Organizational Design Safety Issues, 17 Security-Related Safety Issues, 18 Closing Comments by Respondents, 19 20 CHAPTER FIVE CONCLUSIONS Barriers and Solutions to Improving Safety, 20 Limitations and Future Work, 22 23 REFERENCES 26 BIBLIOGRAPHY 27 APPENDIX A RECRUITMENT E-MAIL FOR PEER REVIEW GROUP 28 APPENDIX B POWERPOINT PRESENTATION FOR PEER REVIEW FOCUS GROUP

32 APPENDIX C FINAL SURVEY INSTRUMENT 38 APPENDIX D RECRUITMENT E-MAIL AND FLYER FOR THE SURVEY 41 APPENDIX E DESCRIPTIONS OF SCHOOL BUS TYPES 43 APPENDIX F OVERALL SAFETY ISSUES BY RANKING

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TRB’s Commercial Truck and Bus Safety Synthesis Program (CTBSSP) Synthesis 17: Special Safety Concerns of the School Bus Industry explores various safety issues faced by school bus operators, including how the issues are currently addressed, barriers to improvements, and suggestions for making improvements in the future.

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