importance of psychological examination for School Transportation drivers and Escorts
report that describe the importance of doing a psychological examination for the school transportation drivers and the school transportation supervisors (helper/escort), and how those type of examinations my help to increase the child safety in the bus and reduce the child abuse cases. the report should describe the best practices in UK, USA and at least another 2 countries.
Importance of Psychological Examination for School Transportation Drivers and Escorts
Importance of Psychological Examination for School Transportation Drivers and Escorts
Promoting the significance of school bus safety to children, teachers and parents is a major priority (ASBC, 2014, p. 1). Though school buses offer one of the safest forms of transportation, there are still injuries and deaths related to school buses annually. Some of these are as a result of collisions with other vehicles. Others are attributed to school bus hitting pedestrians, passengers or cyclists. However, school drivers and supervisors shoulder the greatest responsibility (NHTSA, 2014). Bus drivers report to the school transportation supervisors. It is incumbent upon the drivers to successfully strike a balance between competing safety demands, customer-founded service and school operating procedures. Both the physical and the psychological welfare of the bus driver and supervisor are important in driving performance. Impairment could pose undesirable impacts for the school children and the schools at large (Tse et al, 2006, p. 89). Recognizing that the bus remains a popular form of public transport across the globe, and the fact that the strong probability of this transport enduring in future means that there need to tackle the psychological work environment of school transportation drivers and supervisors (Tse et al, 2006, p. 90). This paper describes the importance of doing a psychological examination for the school transportation drivers and the school transportation supervisors, and how those type of examinations my help to increase the child safety in the bus and reduce the child abuse cases.
School buses are considered the safest vehicles found on the road. The safety record is attributed to the interaction of different items (NASDPTS, 2014, p. 1). These items include: design and construction of the bus; the operating status of the bus; planning of the route taken by the bus; location or site of the loading areas; school bus driver; and school transportation supervisor. The roles of the school transportation driver and supervisor in guaranteeing the safety of the kids to and from school and other related activities is as a significant as any other connection school transportation safety web. A modern, properly maintained and safe school bus functioning on the best terrain with proper loading zones can never compensation for an unskilled school driver or supervisor (NASDPTS, 2014, p. 1). In the same vein, the current drivers who are highly trained are not able to offer the safest transportation to school children with poorly-maintained and out-dated school busies moving on illogical routes and making stops at undesirable loading areas. Though the construction equipment and safety facilities of school buses are important in guaranteeing safety occupants of school buses in the event of an accident, it is the school bus driver and supervisor who always prevent accidents and incidents every school day (NASDPTS, 2014, p. 1). Safety record of transportation involving school buses is a testament to school transportation supervisors, drivers and the other stakeholders in the school transportation sector.
It has been established that bus driving could be a very stressful occupation. The stress is attributed to the high and clashing demands (Dorn et al, 2010, p. 1423). In addition, it is attributed to the lack of control over the pace of work and conditions of driving. The factors that are related to the job like time pressure, extended shifts coupled with responsibility for safety of the passengers can all cause stress to both the school transportation drivers and supervisors. Besides its effects on health and welfare at the place of work, there is a proper reason to believe that stress and fatigue for the bus drivers and supervisors could result in an increased rate of being involved in a bus accident or incident (Dorn et al, 2010, p. 1423). Stress for the drivers and supervisors could impede performance or distract these people from maintaining safety dangerous coping techniques like reacting aggressively to the rest and being involved in self-distraction.
One method of psychological examination as regard driving is the employment of five scales of Driver Stress Inventory (DSI). These include aggression, hazard evaluation, dislike of driving, vulnerability to fatigue and thrill seeking (Dorn et al, 2010, p. 1423). The scales of DSI have been found to be linked to self reported accidents and violations, reduction in performance and risk taking among bus drivers and supervisors and correlated with various forms of simulated driving behavior in a desired direction based on transaction concept of driver stress.
The transaction theory or concept of driver stress projects that personality factors merge with situational traffic requirements to generate cognitive processes which mediate the impacts of driver stress vulnerability on subjective outcomes and objective behavioral results based on particular stress responses. For instance, dislike of driving is linked to tense moods and lack of control and is linked with driver mistakes or errors (Dorn et al, 2010, p. 1423). Aggression on the other hand is linked to risk taking, frustration and negative evaluation of other drivers.
Putting up with driver and supervisor stress as determined using Driver Coping Questionnaire (DCQ) shows five different driver coping frameworks founded on original coping studies (Dorn et al, 2010, p. 1424). Task-founded coping entails active attempts to boost vigilance in the event that driving becomes difficult or very demanding. Reappraisal measures the level to which the school driver and supervisor evaluates the errors that were committed. Emotion-founded coping entails a strategy where the school bus driver and supervisor focus on self-blames and performance for the challenges they encounter (Dorn et al, 2010, p. 1424). This kind of behavior seems to distract the school bus drivers and supervisors from the main goal of driving safely. On the other hand, confrontive coping entails the understanding of traffic using self-assertion or through the use of conflict. Yet avoidance coping was initially defined as a method where the school bus driver and supervisor seeks to disregard the stressor more constantly using self-distraction and is linked to reduced focus on the driving role (Dorn et al, 2010, p. 1424). The last three styles of coping are maladaptive responses to the stress experienced by school drivers and supervisors.
The significance of ineffective coping on adverse outcomes was shown with maladaptive techniques of confrontive coping and avoidance coping justified some of the connections between the workload of bus drivers and supervisors, negative impact and physical symptoms (Dorn et al, 2010, p. 1424). Both driver stress inventory (DSI) and driver coping questionnaire (DCQ) were created on commuter bus drivers and fail to consider the particular risks of encountered in driving a bus to work. Establishing a tool to determine the behavior of bus drivers and supervisors on the basis of DSI and DCQ could be an important tool for schools when evaluating safety intervention efficiency, evaluating driver behavior through a period of time as part of a risk management initiative, or in the selection, hiring and training of school bus drivers and supervisors (Dorn et al. 2010, p. 4). This kind of instrument or tool can be used to determine the behavioral responses which can boost the risk of bus accidents or result in poor health outcomes via ineffective strategies of coping.
There are different ways of differentiating school bus driving from commuter driving. These include the fact that: bus driving is meant to meet a strict program; is characterized by consistent stopping and starting; entails interaction with the public at large and always occur busy built-up regions (Dorn et al, 2010, p. 1425). Despite this, there are also similarities as regards responses to traffic regardless of the work context because many drivers submit some form of vulnerability to driver stress. There is reason to believe that strategies of coping could be connected to driving behavior based on time pressure. However, it has been difficult to identify the role of coping on driving behavior to date. Coping seems to play a major function in mediating behavioral change (Dorn et al, 2010, p. 1426). Considering ineffective strategies of coping which are likely to be linked to undesirable outcomes, past research has established that as a strategy, emotion-founded coping results in attentional impairment and appears to alleviate risk-taking by increasing awareness of errors. On the other hand, confrontive coping seeks to reduce frustration using intimidating practices like gesturing, dangerous overtaking and tailgating. Avoidance coping could be connected to behavioral changes in driving (Dorn et al, 2010, p. 1426). This is attributed to the fact that school bus driver seek to ignore stressors using self-distraction and could reduce their focus to driving safely.
Impacts of Psychological Examination
Psychological examination can be beneficial in different ways. One is by enhancing a positive bus environment. Drivers and supervisors who have constant positive interactions with students basically experience better bus conducts compared to those who focus on reprimands and penalties (Intervention Central, 2014). Through interaction with the students, drivers and supervisors strive to maintain a ratio of three positive interactions for each reprimand or penalties. Examples of positive interactions entail greeting the students using their names as they board the bus, giving them a non-verbal signal like a thumbs-up sign and recognizing the behavior of the students in the bus.
In addition, psychological examination will allow drivers to pull over in order to collect time owed for poor behavior. In the event that group behaviors become unsafe in the bus, the driver will pull over and wait till those behaviors are placed under control (Intervention Central, 2014). At the beginning of the school calendar, the school will inform parents and students about the fact that bus drivers have to pull over when the behavior of students poses a safety risk. This could be that the noise level is great and that students are from one seat to another. The driver will also be able to determine the time taken by the bus after pulling over. When, based on the judgment of the driver, the behaviors of students are not safe, he or she issues warning. Supposing behavior does not improve, the driver will pull over and wait for time out period. When the bus behaviors are controlled after the wait-time, the driver will resume the journey. However, if the behaviors are not controlled, the driver will have to wait till it becomes safe to re-embark on the journey (Intervention Central, 2014). Drivers will be able to report to supervisors is they are compelled to employ the pull-over strategy as this could signal the fact that the driver requires external help in managing the behavior of students.
Psychological examination will also help the drivers and supervisors to manage misbehaving students. Students who demonstrate a trend of major negative behavior on the bus could be reminded of necessary bus-riding skills and required to participate in bus safety class (Intervention Central, 2014). Supervisors in this regard could establish a safety class of thirty minutes to an hour. They could create simple curriculum which teaches proper bus behaviors using demonstration, adult modeling and role play among students. The driver and the supervisor could also decide on the level of misbehavior which will cause a student’s referral to safety class. For instance, students could be referred to safety class in the event that they are given two bus referrals in the same month or for behavioral incident which poses a major safety risk (Intervention Central, 2014). Following completion of the class, the parents of the students are given a letter that presents proper bus behaviors and motivate them to speak with the student concerning the significance of adhering to school rules.
Through psychological examination, it will also be important to establish whether drivers and supervisors are able to separate younger and senior students in order to prevent bullying. Seating senior students apart from junior ones will reduce the likelihood that bullying will occur on the bus. It is not rare for senior students to victimize junior ones on the bus (Intervention Central, 2014). The driver and supervisor could manage this by problem by separating the students using grade, demanding that junior students sit at the front and senior students take the back seat.
Finally, through psychological examination, the school administration will be confident of the fact that drivers and supervisors can teach the right bus behaviors (Intervention Central, 2014). Students are most likely to take part in appropriate bus behaviors in the event that they have been taught properly about those behaviors. At the beginning of each year, students must thorough description and demonstration of bus behavior. For instance, supposing one bus rule holds that students remain seated when the bus is one the move, the presenter has to demonstrate cases of proper sitting behavior and unaccepted seating behavior. An appropriate behavior in this regard would be to sit facing forward. For efficiency, the driver and supervisor will first consider presenting good bus behaviors to each and every student and have them revise those practices on the bus (Intervention Central, 2014). The other fact is that senior students would be trained to be responsible on the bus to show positive bus behavior to other students.
Measures Taken by Different Nations
Different nations have assumed different steps to manage school safety. In the EU, it is not just the vehicle and the period of usage of the vehicle that is important in enhancing school bus safety, rather the redesign, description and visibility for other users is crucial (SBSG, 2014). Different accidents with the inclusion of the severe ones do not take place inside the vehicle but in the vicinity of the stops. Many schools fail to dispose of parking areas, meaning that the conditions around access points have to be redesigned so as to boost visibility and safety. On the basis of the good practices identified in different nations, there are requirements and conditions which must be observed in locations around schools like stops, pedestrian paths and traffic signals (SBSG, 2014). Moreover, legislation and regulation are implementing measures which are always used in nations outside the European Union to boost safety. An example in this regard is the stopping law in the US and Canada which holds that when a school bus stops in order to load or unload passengers, the other vehicles should stop and maintain a distance of about 20 meters. The drivers risk strict punishments when passing school buses in the course of loading and unloading. In addition, in school buses, success is already evident in some nations, especially in what regards the eradication of the three children in two seats regulation and obligation to have seat belts. In the nation of Australia, each child has to have his own seat. This includes a restraint frameworj in all small buses. In Portugal, the emerging regulation for school transport calls for the presence of safety belts for all seats and bans the rule of three in two seats. On the other hand, in Ireland and United Kingdom, it was expected that the rule of three in two would be abolished and new vehicles will require to be fitted with seat belts for each and every passengers. Finally in Sweden, school transport law is under overhaul and strategies entail the obligation of seat belts (SBSG, 2014). In addition, in case of providing the service, the conditions can be imposed by responsible authorities. This goes to show that nations all over the world are concerned with school safety.
In conclusion, it cannot be disputed that travelling using school bus remains one of the safest modes of transportation. In this regard, it is important to support programs that are meant to enhance the knowledge and skills of school transportation drivers and supervisors. It is important for all the stakeholders to participate in all initiatives or decision making activities which affect school bus drivers and supervisors. This is attributed to the fact that the demand on school transportation drivers and supervisors has increased over the recent past. For instance, school bus drivers have to contend with inattentive motorists and those who are distracted; disruptive students boarding the school bus; inappropriate or illicit activities on school buses and bus stops; and different daily incidents. These factors denote the significance of on-going training. There is a shortage of bus drivers in different parts. This is common when the economy is doing well and there are numerous competing job opportunities. Most school bus drivers work on part-time basis, as opposed to being full time workers. This also affects the job benefits. Therefore, there is need to create programs for training and recruiting school transportation drivers and supervisors and to compensate them at a rate that matches the job they undertake.
American School Bus Council [ASBC]. Fact Sheet: School Bus Safety. Retrieved from https://www.ocps.net/op/tran/Documents/ASBC%20Safety%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf
Dorn, Lisa., Stephen, Lucy., Wahlberg, Anders & Gandolfi, Julie. Development and validation of a self-report measure of bus driver behavior. Ergonomics 53.12 (2010), pp. 1420-33
Intervention Central. School-Wide Strategies for Managing-BUS CONDUCT. Retrieved from http://www.interventioncentral.org/behavioral-interventions/schoolwide-classroommgmt/school-wide-strategies-managing-bus-conduct
National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services [NASDPTS]. School Bus Drivers: Their Importance and Training. Retrieved from www,nasdpts.org/Documents/Paper-Drivers2000.pdf
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [NHTSA]. School Bus Driver In-Service Series. Retrieved from http://www.nhtsa.gov/Driving+Safety/School+Buses/School+Bus+Driver+Training
School Bus Safety Group [SBSG]. EU News. Retrieved from http://www.schoolbus.org.uk/index.asp?pageid=196698
Tse, John., Flin, Rhona & Mearns, Kathryn. Bus Driver Well-being Review: 50 Years of Research. Transportation Research F Part 9 (2006) 89-114
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