Safety Checklist for a Bus


Driving a bus entails more than just obeying traffic laws. Before taking a bus out on the road, take the time to complete a safety checklist, also known as a pre-trip inspection. Each state has laws governing what items appear on these inspections, and most cities and school districts maintain their own specific checklists. However, many items appear on any list. Follow the checklist and keep passengers safe during their bus trip.

Lights, Flashers and Signals

  • Activate all lights and flashers and check dash lights and gauges. This list can be lengthy and will vary according to the type of bus. Exit the bus and confirm that all lights are working properly. Turn on blinkers and make sure they work.

Passenger Seating

  • Check that passenger seats are bolted to the floor and that all cushions are attached to the seats. All interior lights should be working.

External Inspection

  • Start the engine and exit the bus for an external inspection. The vehicle should be level in front and back. Look for puddles, leaks underneath the bus, flat tires, loose lug nuts and anything dangling under the bus.

Under the Hood

  • Check engine fluid levels and all compartments. The battery should be secure and all connections free of corrosion. External storage compartments should be tightly latched and the latches should open and close easily.


  • Test the brakes to make sure the hydraulic or air system is working properly. These instructions vary according to the type of vehicle. Apply the parking brake only. Shift the bus into a lower gear to see if the brake will hold the bus in place.

    With the engine running, firmly depress the brake for five seconds. It should be firm and not move.

Passenger Entry and Exit

  • Doors should open and close freely and be free of damage. Steps should be clear and free of excessive wear. Check the hand rails for looseness. Step lights should be working. If the bus is equipped with a lift, it should be free of leaks and damage. Test that it will fully extend, retract and latch.

    The emergency exit doors should be unblocked, clearly marked and securely latched from the inside. Emergency warning systems should be in working order.

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