Neb. Safety Center gets grants to train bus drivers

By: Hannah Paczkowski

The assault that occurred between a Lincoln bus driver and a passenger raised concerns for some public transportation riders.

The Nebraska Department of Roads is working hard to make sure this doesn't happen again. Now, they're concentrating on educating all rural transit drivers across the state.

“Safety is a priority for both Nebraska Department of Roads and the federal transit administration,” Transit liaison manager Kari Ruse said.

They gave nearly $640 thousand to the Nebraska Safety Center to develop a curriculum for drivers through the University of Nebraska-Kearney.

All drivers across the state are now required to take defensive driving training and passenger assistance safety and sensitivity courses.

“It will really provide consistency and how the drivers relate to their passengers and their information that they have in the terms of defensive driving strategies,” Ruse said.

In previous years, training was strongly suggested, not required. Now, the Nebraska Safety Center expects to train close to 500 drivers within the first eight months of the project, they're already three months in.

The Department of Roads said more people in rural areas are now relying on mass transit, especially those who need extra assistance.

Now, they can rest easy knowing their bus drivers have been trained.

“Many of them have mobility devices and they have special needs and the drivers need to be aware of how to assist those passengers on and off the vehicle,” Ruse said.

For more information on the curriculum, go to