How Safe Are Busses

  • School busses are the safest means that exist to get children to school. They are statistically safer than walking or riding in a parent’s car. School busses are the safest mode of transportation because of the way they are made and the training required for the Bus Driver and Bus Aide.

    Key safety requirements include:

    • Well-padded, high back, energy absorbing seats. These seating systems provide “automatic protection” for young passengers.
    • Brake systems that enable the school bus to stop in a shorter distance than other large vehicles.
    • Lamps and reflective devices that indicate when the bus is loading and unloading passengers.
    • Special mirrors that allow the driver to see critical areas directly in front and along both sides of the school bus.
    • A stop arm that extends out to the left side of the bus to warn motorists when the bus is loading or unloading passengers.
    • Several emergency exits.
    • Rollover protection that reduces the likelihood of a roof collapse and allows for operable emergency exits even after the roof is subject to extreme forces.
    • A passenger compartment designed to reduce the chances of injury to occupants caused by sharp edges of body panels that may tear loose in a crash.
    • Protected fuel tanks, fuel pump, fuel delivery system, emissions control lines and connections to protect against fuel spills in severe crashes.

    What kind of training do bus drivers receive?

    New York State’s requirements for training and preparing school bus drivers are extremely rigorous. While no system is ever foolproof, it provides strong assurances to parents, children and school administrators that drivers of school busses can be counted on to do their job safely and properly. Outlined are the basic requirements imposed on School Bus Drivers in New York State:

    Pre-Employment (Before Driving Students)

    • Possess a CDL-B (Commercial Driver’s License with a “B” endorsement). Normally requires about 60 hours of training to obtain. License is issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) after completing CDL written and road test exams.
    • Submit a set of fingerprints to DMV’s Bus Driver Certification Unit for FBI and State criminal background checks.
    • Pass an Article 19A medical exam.
    • Complete and pass the State Education Department (SED) Physical Performance Test.
    • Submit three written character references.
    • Submit to a pre-employment drug test.
    • Complete 2 hours of “Pre-Service” training, following SED Curriculum.

    Continuing Employment First Year:

    • Complete SED’s School Bus Driver Basic Course (30 hours). Course can only be given by SED approved School Bus Driver Instructors.
    • Each year:
    • Complete 2 hours of safety training prior to the first day of school.
    • Complete 2 hours of safety training during the period of Dec 1 –Feb 1.
    • Interview with Supervisor, and review current copy of driving abstract for accuracy.
    • Complete an Observation of Defensive Driving Abilities by a DMV certified examiner.
    • Pass 19A physical exam.
    • Submit to random drug and alcohol testing compliance.

    Every two years:

    • Take and pass a CDL written exam, as prescribed by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles.
    • Take and pass a CDL road test, given by a DMV certified examiner.
    • Take and pass SED’s physical performance test.