Head Start Bus Transportation: Children are transported by monitored buses to and from the Head Start centers. Head Start bus drivers are carefully screened and driving records are checked very closely. All bus drivers are required to have a NC Commercial Drivers License (CDL) and certified by the N.C. Department of Transportation Division of Motor Vehicles School Bus & Traffic Safety Section. Upon employment CDL drivers are given a drug test and are tested randomly each quarter for drugs and alcohol. Upon boarding the bus all children are properly buckled in a child restraint device (CRD) that meets applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS 213); all children remain buckled until reaching the destination. Bus monitors assist the children in safely boarding and unloading from the buses.
Transportation Safety Education: The Head Start program provides pedestrian safety training for parents and children within the first thirty days of the center operational period; for children entering the program later in the year, the training is provided within thirty days of their initial enrollment date. For the children, a developmentally appropriate training is provided that is an essential part of the program experiences. The need for an adult to accompany a preschool child while crossing the street is stressed in the parents’ training, as well as in the children’s training. In addition, the following activities is also taught to the children, if Head Start provides transportation services, directly or through another organization or an individual:
- Safe riding practices;
- Safety procedures for boarding and leaving the vehicle;
- Safety procedures in crossing the street to and from the vehicle at stops;
- Recognition of the danger zones around the vehicle; and
- Emergency evacuation procedures, including participating in an emergency evacuation drill conducted on the vehicle the child will be riding.
The parents’ training ensures that the following points are included:
- Emphasizes the importance of escorting their children to the vehicle stop and the importance of reinforcing the training provided to children regarding vehicle safety;
- Complements the training provided to their children so that the parent can reinforce safety practices both in Head Start and at home.
Bus evacuation drills are conducted at least once per month throughout the center operational period and include both back door and front door evacuation experiences. Developmentally appropriate children’s activities are developed and carried out in a manner that emphasizes a constant reminder of the safety procedures.