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School Bus Drivers Are Keeping Kids Safe

Just How Safe Are School Buses?
The safety record of school bus transportation is unequalled; school buses are the safest vehicles on the road. If only all cars and trucks could be as secure as these giant yellow caravans carrying dozens of squirmy youngsters!   With 24 million students transported annually on 450,000 public school buses, it"s no easy feat. Really, there is a combination of reasons for the superior safety record. Every detail is planned out, from the school bus route, to the safety mechanisms on the bus, to the maintenance, to the training of the driver. 
Distinctive Bus Features
Buses are improved structurally every decade or so. Federal standards are updated to require all school buses to be equipped with certain devices, such as the automatic stop signal arm on the left side of the bus, which alerts motorists that they should stop because children are getting on or off the bus. The federal standards require unique rearview mirrors that allow the driver to view the front of the bus and both sides. The entire fuel system has certain crash performance constraints. Rollover protection regulations compel buses to have high structural integrity. Amber and red warning lights are standard requirements to communicate with motorists, and the precise number of emergency exits and window releases are mandated in writing.
Driver Requirements
In the early 1990s the Federal Highway Administration issued a requirement that all school bus drivers acquire a Commercial Drivers License (CDL). To receive a CDL, they must pass knowledge and skills tests, be subject to random drug and alcohol testing, and pass a physical. Criminal background checks are required. Everyday the drivers must personally check the tires, lights, brakes, and steering before embarking on the road. They go through training modules ranging from how to drive in bad weather to dealing with illegal activities on the bus.
Catastrophic bus crashes are rare events and the school bus"s safety record can give peace of mind to even the most anxious parents. For more information about school buses, go to The National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS) in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, was established in the 1960s with the goal of providing high-quality transportation to school children. The NASDPTS provides ongoing training resources to school bus drivers nationwide.

By Michelle Simmons
Get Bus Driver Jobs, Contributing Editor

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