School bus drivers train before classes begin

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Before students board their school bus, drivers have to go through a series of training exercises.

Drivers for Center Grove Schools have already taken their state-mandated three or four hours of online training - they do that over the summer. Tuesday, spent six hours training in the same buses that will transport your children to school.

Part of the training included an evacuation drill, designed to get children safely off the bus within three minutes. Drivers will work with students on the best way to get off the bus in case of an emergency, such as a fire on the bus.

"They go through evacuation drills twice a year and while bus drivers usually go through them with students, I wanted them to experience what students go through," said Rick Pederson, who oversees Center Grove's transportation department.

"They can get all the kids off fairly quickly, within a minute. A bus only takes three minutes to go up in flames," said Kevin Skipper, White River Township Fire Department.

Pederson says it's important for drivers to reinforce discipline on the bus just as teachers do in the classroom.

"Noisy, unruly children are just as dangerous a distraction for the driver as talking on a cell phone," he said.

Pederson said Center Grove drivers check lights and brakes every day before they take the buses out on their routes.

"Children see the lights and know that it's safe to board the bus," Pederson said.