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THE LIFE OF A DRIVER Studies to be a driver trainer Back on the road Arrives at junior high 3 p.m. Arrives at Mathews Elementary Back at bus barn, performs post-trip check 3:50 p.m. FALL 2016 THE NEST NIXA PUBLIC SCHOOLS MAGAZINE 7 8:15 a.m. Lets off kids for Mathews 8:30 a.m. Arrives at bus barn, performs posttrip check 9 a.m. Takes personal time or prepares for fi eld trips 1 p.m. 2 p.m. Starts pre-trip checklist of 40 items 2:10 p.m. 2:20 p.m. Arrives at Inman Intermediate 2:40 p.m. Leaves junior high for fi rsttier drop offs 3:40 p.m. Leaves Mathews for second-tier drop offs 4:25 p.m. “I make contact with every child that steps on my bus in the morning and in the afternoon, because I want to see what’s going on with them. I really need to get to know my kids. If I don’t know them, I pull them up front so I can talk to them and get to know them. That way I can learn why they are sad or mad and I can tell by their faces how they are doing. I have even come to know and recognize their voices.” MORE THAN JUST A DRIVER Collins requires each bus driver to go over a 40-point pre-trip and posttrip checklist twice a day to ensure the proper function of all bus systems and prevent failures. This policy practice has been a major factor in the Nixa School District’s 17-year state record of perfect bus inspections for all 45 buses in the fl eet the fi rst time through. Missouri State Highway Patrol inspectors go underneath, inside and around the outside of each bus, checking each system down to every individual light. If the bus passes, it’s good for a whole year. If it doesn’t pass and it doesn’t get fi xed the same day, it is considered out of service and the bus cannot legally run until the part is fi xed and re-inspected. “A school bus inspection is not like getting your car inspected. They inspect every component of every bus, inside and out,” Collins said. “The unique thing for us ... we have got 17 years in a row of every bus passing the fi rst time through with no defects. It’s phenomenal. We have awesome drivers who have had good training and they know what they’re looking for so we are able to stay ahead of any problems. We have an awesome maintenance program and great shop mechanics. We also have an open checkbook when it comes to maintenance. If a bus needs something, we take care of it.” MORE REQUIREMENTS THAN LICENSES New drivers go through a 40-hour training program. By law, all drivers must take a driving test, skills test and CDL pre-trip test with a state trooper in a school bus and must have a Class B commercial drivers license (CDL) as well as a passenger and school bus endorsement. “Ninety percent of our new bus drivers are not licensed in this way and 80 percent haven’t driven anything bigger than an automobile,” Collins said. “It may seem to outsiders that it’s a part-time job, but to the insiders it’s full-time job Continued on Page 8 Students go crazy on the bus. Bus driver Michelle Lea said she enjoys getting to know each student on her route.


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