Bus drivers learn new safety measures for start of school year

Teachers, students and even bus drivers are preparing for the start of a new school year. Over 130 bus drivers from 15 different school districts gathered for a safety presentation from Dr. Nancy Blackwelder on Wednesday in Ottumwa. She explained the importance of discipline on a school bus, and how to use positive reinforcement to encourage good behavior. The Iowa Pupil Transportation Association hosted the event. Executive director of the IPTA, Owen Freese, says heâ??s spent 29 years in the school bus safety business but says his goal still remains the same.

"Safety always has to be the main priority and if we can have the environment in the school bus safer, with the training that Doctor Blackwelder is giving today that should help the school bus driver be more conscious of what they're doing and that makes a saver environment for the students," said Freese.

Bus drivers are required to have training at the beginning of each year to maintain their license. Wednesdayâ??s session went above that requirement, which officials say helps to additionally qualify the drivers.