School Bus Driver

School Bus Driver

The Bus Driver

15 Years Experience

South, ..

Female, 37

I have been a bus driver since late 2006. I know the inside story, the scoop, the down low dirt of what it takes to be a bus driver, how to handle kids and adults, and how to survive on the "streets" so to speak. I used to have a blog, feel free to browse it or ask me a question here.

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Last Answer on February 07, 2021

Best Rated

This is a really interesting thread, learned a ton already by reading it. My question: do you lock and unlock the emergency door from the driver's seat, or could a kid sitting in the back just open it at any time?

Asked by Hank over 11 years ago

The emergency doors in the back of the bus (or on the side of the bus in some models) are simply opened by a red lever in the back of the bus. Any child can do it in the case of an emergency. The door is not locked. The door can be locked, however when securing your bus for the evening after you have completed your route. The newer models of buses have a simple slide latch and the latch communicates with the ignition system of the bus. If the latch is locked, the bus will not start. It ensures that the door always stays unlocked so that students can get out in the case of an emergency.

What, if anything, do you think is missing from the modern-day school bus? Seat belts? Power windows? Extra supervision?

Asked by simba07 over 11 years ago

Well, things like power windows are not practical because the kids would be forever playing with them, and we don't need any more buttons to deal with. A lot of the newer buses are equipped with power mirrors, mirror defoggers/defrosters, air ride seats, and air conditioning. One thing that I would like to see is better running/back up lights on the exterior of the bus for when we have to do turn around's in the dark. Another thing that I would like to see in addition to the air ride seats, is more cushioning/comfort in the drivers seats since we are often on the road for very long hours. In an ideal world, every bus would have an aide on it to monitor and help defuse behavior problems as well, but funding is just not available.

Was it difficult to learn how to drive a bus? How much training is involved?

Asked by boltthrower over 11 years ago

It wasn't difficult at all. Its just like driving a very very very long SUV. You do have to have good spatial awareness to know where your tail end is from your front end, but overall, it wasn't hard. As far as training, you need to have a CDL B with a passenger and school bus endorsements. The other types of training as far as hands on and classroom time vary by state. Your local bus shop should have the information you need as far as when the next class is.

How fast can a school bus go?

Asked by J-Bird over 11 years ago

Federal law states that a school bus can go no faster than 40 mph on route and up to 55 mph on highways. Many school buses are governed down so they cannot go faster than a certain speed. In my district, the buses WERE governed to 65 mph, but some drivers were breaking the speed limit, so we were then governed down to between 55 and 60 mph. Other districts do not govern their school buses down. If you see a bus driver acting reckless by speeding faster than 70 mph on a highway, feel free to call it in and report them.

Are there any rules about how many hours must have passed since your last alcoholic beverage before you can drive a bus? e.g. If you have to pick the kids up at 7am, can you have a drink at 11pm the night before?

Asked by ScottyB almost 12 years ago

Since I do not drink by choice, I don't know if there is an unofficial "rule". Since alcohol is NOT illegal to consume, the best advice I can give is to use moderation. Bus drivers are subject to random alcohol and drug testing, so if you're concerned about it showing up, then the rule of thumb is not to do it.

Why do so many school buses have white tops now? (pic: http://news-press.net/blogs/chalkboard/files/2009/11/School-bus.jpg)

Asked by Sox over 11 years ago

That is a good question. I actually had to look up the answer myself as I had not remembered what they said in training class. The white top of a school bus is reportedly a measure enacted to help cool the school bus. We do not have air conditioning on buses in my district, and the white tops supposedly keep the heat down inside the bus. Some newer models have tinted windows which also try to keep the heat from entering the bus. Another reason there are white tops, and strobe lights on the top of buses, is to assist with visibility from the air and on the ground.

Why is the district not letting me do the wheelchair tie downs? i cant believe that they that have you guys to do it...

Asked by ronda over 11 years ago

Well, I think part of the reason they do not let you tie your wheelchair down yourself is because the driver/aide must be sure that the wheelchair is adequately secured in the bus. If the bus were to get into an accident and you were hurt because your wheelchair was not tied down properly by you, it can be a liability to the district. Also, if you are riding the bus as a passenger, the driver is still having the full responsibility of everyone on their bus.