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September 21, 2015

Our DriveSMART program exemplifies First Student’s commitment to sustainable business practices by setting fuel efficiency practices and protocols that reduce our carbon footprint. Our onboard diagnostic capabilities allow us to pinpoint and address any excess idling over three minutes and any speeding over five miles per hour, thus improving air quality, reducing fuel consumption and monitoring unsafe driving. In addition to our technology innovations, we also equip our staff with the knowledge to manage and control fuel consumption, all while still developing and implementing new sustainability solutions.

DriveSMART stands for:

  • S: Safe driving is fuel-efficient driving.
  • M: Minimize speeding. For every 10 miles per hour driven over 55 miles per hour, you achieve one less mile per gallon in fuel economy, resulting in a 14% reduction in overall fuel economy.
  • A: Avoid rapid acceleration and hard braking.
  • R: Reduce idling.
  • T: Talk to maintenance technicians and engineering about possible issues that may impact fuel economy.

The DriveSMART program has delivered measurable impact to the communities we serve. In 2013-2014, we exceeded a 3% emissions reduction as compared to five years ago. We also saved 3.2 million gallons of fuel during that school year—enough to serve the school buses for the city of Chicago for one year. This equates to 75 million pounds of carbon emissions avoided. Additionally, more than half of our participating locations in North America have improved their fuel efficiency since the launch of the program.

At each location, we take the time to honor our drivers who lead in the application of DriveSMART principles. We do this so our drivers know we appreciate their efforts for keeping “smart driving practices” front of mind – and so they have the satisfaction of knowing they play a direct role in caring for and protecting their environment.