Fact: School Bus Drivers Are Tested, Trained, and Re-Tested

School bus drivers are trained to safely transport children to and from school. They are trained professionals with immense responsibility. Our communities have trusted drivers for generations, and with that trust, school bus drivers have made taking the school bus the safest way to get to and from school.

The American School Bus Council supports practices that allow communities to hire, retain, and develop drivers that are not only professional drivers, but professional supervisors, educators, and friends.

Driver Hiring Practices and Criteria

Requirements for screening, hiring and employing school bus drivers should include:

  • Development of specific written criteria for hiring and rejecting potential applicants.

  • Development and use of a written application document.

  • A personal interview with each applicant.

  • Pre-employment and ongoing driving record checks.

  • Pre-employment and ongoing drug and alcohol screening (federal requirement).

  • Pre-employment and ongoing physical exams.

  • Pre-employment and periodic criminal background checks.

  • Pre-employment road performance testing and annual employee evaluations.

  • State-approved training and testing programs.

  • Periodic evaluation to ensure that drivers’ skills meet standards.

  • Ongoing in-service training and testing to ensure appropriate driver knowledge.

  • Demonstrated ability to follow written instructions and record data accurately.

Driver Training

Before transporting students, all school bus drivers should complete a pre-service training and testing program that includes classroom and on-the-road training, and successfully pass both written and driving performance tests that demonstrate adequate knowledge of policies and traffic laws as well as driving skills.

Driver instruction and procedures should include:

  • Rules and policies for conducting safe and efficient student transportation.

  • Instruction in operating school bus equipment.

  • Proper adjustment and use of the school bus mirror system.

  • Daily pre-trip and post-trip vehicle safety inspections.

  • Safe driving techniques, including defensive driving skills.

  • Procedures for loading and unloading passengers.

  • Procedures for entering and exiting school zones.

  • Student management.

  • Accident and emergency procedures, including evacuation and use of emergency equipment.

  • Basic first-aid procedures.

  • Safety procedures for railroad crossings.

  • Guidance in following route instructions and map diagrams.

  • Appropriate use of electronic communications, if available. These may include wireless communication and GPS.

  • Proper refueling procedures.

  • Laws and rules associated with school activity trips.

  • Reduced engine idling policies.

  • Effective communications with staff, students and parents.

  • Cultural diversity, including effective communication techniques when language barriers exist.

  • Proper professional attitude and behavior.

  • Customer service skills.

  • Post-trip inspections of the school bus interior to verify that all children have left the bus.

  • Training on use and securement of passenger safety devices, including safety seats and other equipment.