School bus drivers play an important role in society--to safely transport children to and from school every day. For this reason, federal and state governments must make sure the people who are hired to do this task are qualified, well-trained and have a stable background. School bus drivers are tested similarly to city and private bus drivers, but a few extra steps are added to the certification to ensure safe transport of children.
Hiring and Employment Criteria
Hiring is the first step in becoming a school bus driver. The American School Bus Council says that to become a school bus driver you must fill out an application, meet the state requirements for each school district, undergo a driving record check before and during employment, undergo an alcohol and drug test before and during employment, take a physical exam, and undergo criminal background checks before and during employment. To keep your job, you must cooperate with these frequent tests, annual requirements such as additional training and testing, staff and employer evaluations and a number of other state-approved regulations.
Once hired, the American School Bus Council says, prospective school bus drivers must take a course that includes classroom and road training. The length and name of the course vary from state to state, but the elements taught in each class remain the same on the federal and state levels. These elements include safely transporting students, using bus equipment, adjusting mirrors, safety before and after trips each day, defensive driving and safe-driving techniques, unloading passengers, entering and exiting school zones, emergency procedures to deal with accidents, first aid, fire and railroads, refueling, field trip laws and communication with staff, parents and students. Trainees delve into the importance of cultural diversity and communicating with someone despite a language barrier, conducting themselves professionally and respectfully, customer service and conflict resolution. The training phase of hiring a school bus driver is essential to the safety of students across the country.
School bus drivers must meet certain physical requirements to be employed to transport students to and from school--guidelines similar to those of city bus drivers. They must have at least 20/40 vision with a 70-degree field of vision in each eye. Drivers must be able to tell the difference between the colors of traffic lights and signs. Other requirements are normal blood pressure, uninhibited use of arms and legs and no use of controlled substances unless a prescription. Drivers also cannot have epilepsy or insulin-controlled diabetes. Other physical requirements differ by state.
- Photo Credit school bus arriving image by Jacque Stengel from Fotolia.com
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