Wednesday, January 18, 2017

New GAO Report on School Bus Safety #GAO #school bus safety

The Government Accountability Office issued a report last week on school bus safety. This topic is important to all who work in education. Some special education students are entitled to transportation as a related service. 34 CFR § 300.34.

The report found that based on GAO’s analysis of data for 2000 to 2014, 115 fatal crashes involved a school bus on average each year—which is 0.3 percent of the 34,835 total fatal motor-vehicle crashes on average each year. The school bus driver and school bus vehicle (e.g., a defect) were cited as contributing factors in 27 percent and less than 1 percent of fatal school-bus crashes, respectively. Seventy-two percent of fatal crashes occurred during home-to-school and school-to-home travel times.

Concerning the safety of special needs buses: Seven percent of buses involved in fatal crashes during this time were classified as special needs school buses

Concerning the training of special needs bus drivers: All eight selected states required school bus drivers to receive training on transporting students with special needs. "Drivers in these states typically receive training on transporting special needs students as part of the training curriculum for entry-level or refresher training for school bus drivers. For example, in New York, under state law, entry-level school bus drivers are required to take a minimum of two hours of instruction related to transporting special needs students during the first year of employment, and all school bus drivers are required to take one hour of annual training related to transporting special needs students.54 5367 PA. CODE § 71.5 (2016). 54N.Y. COMP. CODES R. & REGS. tit. 8, § 156.3(b)(5)(ii)(a) and (b) (2016). Page 28 GAO-17-209 School Bus Safety State officials in a few of our selected states said additional training on special needs transportation is provided to drivers at the local level. A Washington state official told us that the state trains all instructors on special needs transportation topics so the instructors can in turn provide more targeted training to drivers, such as how to secure wheelchairs on a particular bus model."

You can review a highlight sheet here. The full 51 page report is available here.

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