We all know how important documentation is in the K-12 transportation industry. With such precious cargo, safety is paramount. More than that, emotions can run high, and the risk of liability is even higher. Your district is doing everything it can to ensure safety and stability, but you need documentation to prove it. Let’s take a look at some of the many kinds of documentation your team has to manage every day.
- For the drivers, it begins with the pre-trip inspection. From the time they start their day and fill out that legal document stating what is in working condition and what is not, the liability begins. Transporting scenarios are not what they once were; if someone hits you, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s their fault, especially if you can’t prove that your vehicle was in good working order. Insurance companies are going to do an extensive investigation.
- Drivers also need to record every incident that happens on their vehicle. For example, a student may hit another student, or someone may slip down the bus stairs. Even if that individual gets up and claims that he or she is fine, we always want to document.
- Dispatchers have their own work to record, and usually it needs to be done quickly. If an incident was dispatched to them or if a driver must reroute due to construction, traffic, or an absent student, it all needs to be on record.
- Trainers must document information like the hiring and pre-screening checklists used in training methods. This can also include the trainer documenting materials that the trainee understands and acknowledges.
- Transportation Directors document everything: from discipline and retraining, to employee incidents, to slips and falls. They document information about the fleet for age and obsolescence plans. They document phone calls with parents and meetings. They document curricular and non-curricular time and mileage for their annual claim. Because they provide their employees with tools to do their jobs, they must also be sure policies and protocols are followed regarding documentation, and teach them how it should be done.
These are only a few examples of what must be documented — which makes it clear that creating systems to manage, archive, and access all of this information is no small task. Technology providers for the industry can support districts with software and services to make this much simpler.
First, great documentation technology allows all of this information to be stored in one searchable database — a lot easier and more searchable than years of collected file cabinets. When a transportation director can reference back to the history of a situation or event, they can make more informed decisions regarding the big picture.
Additionally, documentation software should allow you to add attachments on information from students, vehicles, runs, locations, and employees. These attachments could include a student’s IEP, seizure plan, medical information, a note to ride home, a transportation request, or a discipline form.
When staff can easily access the information, they can better advise the driver on what should be done in an emergency or during an incident.
The use of software can also streamline the documentation process, making it possible to fill in information on mobile devices, or automatically updating a core record with new information as it is entered.
And as new requirements are put in place, great technology will be there to help. For example, electronic forms can be used to help drivers complete a thorough child check.
Ultimately, software helps define a clear planning process, effectively organize data and files, and optimize operational decisions when it comes to documentation. As modern technology continues to evolve, make sure your district is taking advantage of the best resources available to support you in recording the great work you do every day.
Content contributions by Tyler Technologies Solutions Consultant Team Lead Kim Rentner