ZZNN Strategy

How are we going to get there?

We believe the keys to achieving Zip. Zero. Nada. None. 2025 are:

School Buses. We encourage Congress and all states to help school transportation service providers expedite the purchase and use of the most advanced fleets of school buses equipped with the latest safety equipment/technology, including:
  • event data recorders 
  • forward collision warning 
  • collision mitigation systems (like advanced emergency braking system (AEBS) or autonomous emergency braking (AEB) 
  • electronic stability control 
  • lap/shoulder seat belts
  • pedestrian detection/warning
School Bus Drivers. School bus drivers must meet significantly more, and more stringent, requirements for licensure, qualifications, and training than most other drivers. For example, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) permits states to issue a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) to school bus drivers only after they have passed knowledge and skills tests administered by the state. School bus drivers must also have Passenger (P) and School Bus (S) endorsements on the CDL. These endorsements require additional testing and demonstration of proficiency.
 
The public should view school bus drivers (and student monitors who work with and support them) as vital professionals in our education system.  They are not just drivers and monitors, but also role models, mentors, counselors, advisers, and friends, the eyes and ears of every community, interacting with more than 25 million students every school day.
 
Accordingly, school bus drivers must be vetted carefully before hiring and throughout their employment to ensure documented physical fitness, mental competency, and good judgment.
 
We encourage all school transportation service providers and the federal and state agencies that regulate them to collaboratively, immediately and effectively address any shortcomings in driver recruitment, background checks, hiring, retention and evaluation systems. 
  
Driver Training. Under a new FMCSA rule mandated by Congress, states will be required to implement no later than February 7, 2020 a comprehensive program for entry-level driver training of commercial drivers who are seeking their initial CDL, including school bus drivers.
 
We encourage states to include training in the following subjects, at a minimum:
  • Safety Best Practices
  • Defensive Driving
  • Road and Weather Hazards
  • Pre & Post Trip Inspections
  • Mirror Adj & Ref Points
  • Intersections
  • Railroad Crossings
  • Danger Zones
  • Student Management
  • Safe Bus Stops
  • Emergency Evacuations
  • Post-Accident Procedures 
In addition, drivers should also receive training to:
  • adapt to changes in routes and stops
  • communicate effectively with parents, co-workers, and administrators
  • recognize, intervene, and report signs of sexual harassment, bullying, or abuse
  • handle confidential student information in a legally compliant and responsible manner
  • address student medical issues especially those of students with disabilities, while ensuring confidentiality 
Leadership Training. State and local transportation directors play a key role in providing expert advice and guidance to other school leaders on safe practices and procedures.  It is critical for them to play that role diligently, confident in their own knowledge related to safety for our children.  This will enable them to offer logical, practical, safety-sensitive and actionable guidance in the interests of the children and the school bus safety team that they lead.  
 
To most other leaders in the education field, credentials are important.  It should be the same for transportation professionals.  In line with this, we believe school boards/ boards of education should be encouraged to provide transportation professionals consistent support for engaging in specialized training on the most advanced products and services that promote system-wide performance, efficiency and safety.
 
We encourage states and school systems to require their State and local directors of school transportation to have training in the following subjects, at a minimum: 
  • Communicating Effectively with Parents, Administrators, a School Board and the Public
  • Basic School Transportation Accounting
  • Budget Development
  • Procurement and Budget Management
  • Best Practices When Collecting, Analyzing and Using Data
  • Human Resource Management
  • Strategies for Preventing Sexual Harassment, Bias and Child Abuse/ Neglect
  • Overseeing a Fleet Maintenance Program
  • School Bus Specifications
  • Transportation Facility Planning
  • School Bus Routing & Scheduling
  • Prioritizing & Evaluating Operational Safety
  • School Transportation Contract Management
  • Emergency Planning & Risk Management
  • Legal and Regulatory Issues and Challenges
  • Strategic Planning for Transportation Departments
  • Products, Services & Equipment Options for Transporting Students with Disabilities & Special Needs
  • Supporting Safe Behavior on the School Bus for Students with Disabilities & Special Needs
  • School Transportation Security Assessment
  • Crisis Communication