Kathleen Witte, a reporter at KBTX.com, received a hands-on experience involving school bus driver training and the importance of the job.
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Hector Silva, a training instructor for Texas A&M Engineering Extension, TEEX, and director of transportation at College Station ISD, recently took Witte on a school bus for a review of safety measures. He showed her the proper practices for school bus drivers when they lose power steering, need to reverse and how to make a proper right-hand turn.
Silva explained that the organization trains the trainers who teach bus drivers throughout the state of Texas and in several other states. TEEX teaches trainers what to teach bus drivers, what they need to know, plus what to do if something bad does happen while on the route.
Silva added that a majority of the accidents happen while the bus is moving backward or turning.
He stressed that the bus drivers in Texas are some of the most trained drivers in Texas and maybe even the nation. When a person wants to become a school bus driver in Texas, they must go through the training that is required for a Commercial Driver’s License that the school district provides, as well as a 20-hour course that is required by the Department of Public Safety. Following that, every three years, the drivers are required to go through a refresher course of the 20-hour course for recertification.
Silva said that one of the most dangerous threats to school bus drivers is that the other drivers on the road are more distracted.
“The seat belt is orange and bright, so that everybody sees that the school bus driver is buckled up,” Silva said in the segment. “This is a tank. So, part of the safety of being in a school bus is being in a cocoon.”
For the remainder of the segment, Silva demonstrated specific maneuvers that school bus drivers are taught, that may look unsettling to another driver.