Bus Safety

Transportation

School buses are big business. Each year, the Rolla School District spends over $1 million on transportation services, traveling over 512,000 miles a year. It takes over 120,000 gallons of gasoline to do it! And this doesn't count field trips, sporting events, etc.

The district has 43 regular bus routes that run morning and afternoon, 13 kindergarten routes, and three (3) special needs routes that run at noon. There are also three (3) "shuttle" buses that transport students between schools throughout the day and an activities bus that delivers student athletes to practices after school.

Besides being big business, pupil transportation is also important business. The district's main concern is the safety of the pupils. Buses are maintained in safe condition and are inspected by the Missouri State Highway Patrol each year.

Bus drivers must constantly be aware of their surroundings, possible road hazards, weather conditions, and the actions of other drivers. At the same time they are doing all of this, they must maintain the discipline of 50-60 students on their bus by watching them in a rear view mirror. For discipline and safety reasons there are video cameras that may be mounted on each bus as needed; however, at the present, only five (5) cameras are available. Two-way radios for communication between the buses and the Transportation Department are also a great help in emergency situations. All drivers are required to perform two (2) emergency evacuations of the students from their bus each year.

In order to help younger students recognize the bus they ride, pictures of animals have been placed in the window of each bus. Younger elementary students sometimes feel more confident about recognizing the picture of an animal than a number on a school bus. During School Bus Safety Week, the drivers make safety presentations at all elementary schools and the Middle School using videos and clowns. Safety issues discussed include how to approach the bus, loading and unloading, safety while riding the bus, and to be aware of the danger of other drivers who may not be watching for students.

Driver Training

Bus drivers are required to go through extensive training before they are allowed to drive a bus for Rolla Public Schools. Requirements include a Class B CDL with a passenger endorsement and a School Bus Permit. Drivers must complete 42 hours of training before driving and also attend nine (9) hours of training during the summer and one (1) hour of safety training each month school is in session. Safety training includes map reading, driving a bus through an obstacle course, weather emergencies, extinguishing a diesel fuel fire, railroad crossing safety, and much more. The bus driver must also be certified in Red Cross First Aid and CPR. All drivers participate in random drug screenings.