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The Retired Teacher Driving School Bus Safety
Mariah Barr
6 mins read

We are celebrating School Bus Safety Week with the story of a Massachusetts grandmother who uses Foley to keep a fleet of school buses (and their passengers) safe.

Transportation safety is technical, but it is also personal. Especially for bus drivers. Whether it’s the early morning pick up for the elementary school bus, the charter bus with the high school football team, or the field trip to the zoo, a seasoned bus driver will always tell you that safety is their top concern.

Marie Bruninghaus is not only a seasoned bus driver, but she also manages the human resources department for Lucini Bus Lines, a family-owned and operated company based in Massachusetts with more than six decades of history. Marie’s combined experience as a bus driver, teacher, and first aid instructor, is the perfect fit for managing a team of nearly 200 drivers. And using Foley makes it possible for Marie to track each driver’s compliance and drug screening, no matter where they are in the employment process.

“I started driving a school bus to put myself through college,” Marie said. “Driving a school bus is the best part-time job. There is time off in between morning and afternoon pick-ups, and you get a chance to connect with the students. And when school sports season begins, the drivers get to be part of the excitement!”

After graduating with her education degree, Marie took a teaching job at the same private school she had attended as a child, and spent more than 30 years teaching. But she always kept driving. Early on, Marie connected with Lucini Bus Lines and they agreed to help her keep her CDL active in exchange for teaching first aid classes to their staff. It was the perfect arrangement.

In late 2019, Will, Lucini’s operation manager, heard that the private school where Marie had dedicated her career was going to close. He immediately offered her a job, first driving a bus, and then later as Human Resources Manager. As a grandmother, Marie was thrilled with the opportunity to keep working in the school bus community, while also having the flexibility to help care for her grandkids.

The Foley Solution to Compliance and Customer Success

Before Marie, Will handled all of the DOT compliance and employee drug screening on his own, but as many operations managers can attest, it was just one too many hats.

Lucini Bus Lines first started using the Foley program when the company began its growth from eight vehicles to more than 400. Now Marie is able to use Foley to quickly arrange all necessary drug screening for new hires, random drug tests, and DOT Clearinghouse searches for nearly 200 drivers.

Marie reached out for additional training with the Foley team when she first saw her compliance score at 70 across all the drivers in her program. She called Nicole Kohlweiss, Foley’s Supervisor of Onboarding, as well as Angela Jones, her Customer Success Manager, and told them, “I am a lifelong teacher and I needed to find out how to get to 100!” The Foley compliance score tracks any driver files that may need attention, and with a large fleet there is always something ready to approve or submit.

“I connected with Nicole and Angela at Foley and they are awesome,” Marie said. “Angela showed me how to set up the driver files and when it is best to create a new driver with their drug screening results.” Now Marie is running her Foley program with ease, and always keeps her compliance score on the honor roll.

Prioritize Compliance & Safety During National School Bus Safety Week

With School Bus Safety Week just around the corner (October 17-21, to be exact), now is the time to check the condition of your buses; assess your compliance efforts; and remind students, parents, teachers, and the community what school bus safety looks like.

If you’re not sure where you stand in terms of compliance, the FMCSA offers guidance for school bus operators to help determine if certain federal regulations apply to your company. For the most part, if your private school or university transports individuals in a commercial motor vehicle (CMV), like Marie, you’re responsible for following federal guidelines, including drug testing, driver qualification files, and motor vehicle reports (MVRs).

Safety tips from Marie:  

#1: Drive the speed limit or just under

#2: Your mirrors are your life (scan your mirrors often to always know where your bus is on the road)

#3: Smile and greet your students every day, you might be the only bright spot in their day

If you are ready to manage the safety, compliance, and drug screening for your fleet of drivers, sign up for a FREE demo with one of our DOT compliance experts.

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