Simulator Helps Bryan ISD Bus Drivers Keep Aware

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They take your kids to and from school every day. Bus drivers spend a lot of time behind the wheel and on the streets.

Now, thanks to a state-of-the-art simulator, bus drivers in Bryan ISD are going back to school.

"A lot of people think it's a video game, but it's not," said Larry Thorton, the Safety Training Specialist for Education Service Center, Region VI.

It's a simulation of a school bus. One to make drivers more aware.

"We have over 400 scenarios programmed into this unit where we can cover anything from Texas laws to loading and unloading students to emergency procedures, emergency evacuations," explains Thorton.

"Anything that can happen out there, in the real life, we can do it here," he continued.

"By using the simulator it makes them aware of the hazards," said Bryan ISD Transportation Director Ernest Martinez.

"The training is very important to us," he continued.

Bryan ISD drivers are judged on 19 different aspects as they drive through different scenarios. Ones they could see in real life.

"The deer ran out in front of me, it was a deer," explained Ken Hutcherson. He's the fleet manager for BISD. During an exercise, Hutcherson had to act when a deer jumped out into traffic.

"What he was wanting to make sure that I didn't turn the steering wheel from side to side," said Hutcherson.

"It would have been fatal if would have hit the walls of the overpass," he continued.

"We always want to continue to grow we always want to continue to educate," said Thorton.

An education that can save lives.

The simulator is one of three in the country that are mobile. The Region 6 Service Center operates this one and provides it as a free service to school districts.