Virginia School Bus Driver Training: Does Training Program Adequacy Affect school Bus Accident Rates?
Crews, James O
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Analysis of data provided by the Virginia Departments of Motor Vehicles, Transportation, and Education all show school buses as having a significantly higher number of accidents per hundred million miles of travel than other forms of transportation. Such statistics are alarming and formal study of school bus accident factors has been limited. The purposes of this study were to (a) establish the adequacy of the school bus driver training programs of Local Education Agencies(LEAs) of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and (b) assess the results of various training programs on the reduction of school bus accidents. Descriptive data were gathered using two surveys. The driver survey included items regarding driver training and accident history. In addition, the survey included driver history, driver demographics, and inquiries into the adequacy of training preparation for the Commercial Drivers License(CDL). The transportation directors survey included items regarding training topics, training methods, program description, and employer expectations. Other topics included were the impact of the CDL, and government mandated training programs. Data analysis was conducted by developing cross-tabulation matrices, chi square tests of significance, correlation coefficients, paired t-tests, and multifactor analysis of variance (ANOVA). Conclusions formulated from this study include: (a) training programs in many LEAs do not meet national standards for adequacy; (b) there is no direct relationship between the number of school bus accidents and the adequacy of the training program; (c) there are few LEAs that analyze accident statistics to make modifications to training programs; and (d) most LEAs use the Virginia School Bus Driver Curriculum Guide as their major training resource. Findings such as these provided beneficial data to the Virginia Department of Education, LEA officials, and directors of transportation on training modification and effectiveness, as well as accident reduction.
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