Engineering Our Future

A better driver means a safer drive. There’s one way to make sure America’s children are safer every day on their way to and from school: By giving school bus drivers a well-engineered cockpit. That’s where Lenora Hardee, Ph.D., comes in.

Hardee, the Chief Technical Engineer for Ergonomics and Driver Accommodation, has been working at IC Bus for 15 years. “My group is responsible for ensuring all products are usable and comfortable for our bus drivers,” she says. “Anything to make it easier for them to do their jobs.”

Hardee’s goal is simple: “Ultimately, we want to design everything our drivers interact with to meet their physical and cognitive needs.” Why? “A cockpit that fits the driver better is easier to control,” she says. “There’s an intuitive link between easier driving and making children safer.”

Painstaking research and careful planning have made for innovative changes to the traditional bus cockpit — frequently used controls are located on the steering wheel to make them simple to reach. Larger driver compartments are more comfortable — and everyone knows that a comfortable driver is a happier driver.

“The ergonomics field provides the opportunity to impact peoples’ day-to-day lives,” she says. “Working at IC Bus, it is very gratifying to know that in some small way, I’m making someone’s workday better.” After all, making driving easier, better and safer isn’t just important for people that drive our buses. It’s important for the precious cargo that we carry every day, too: Our children.

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