School Bus Safety Mandates

 The school bus is one of the safest vehicles on the road. Learn more about the laws and regulations governing school buses that ensure your child is safe on the way to and from school:

School Bus Transportation Safety Attributes

Safety Attribute

   Authority
*Note by key

Compliance with federal and/or state school bus construction and maintenance standards ensures:

Vehicle Weight, Strength, and Size

R

  • A heavier vehicle than other vehicles on the road
  • A passenger compartment that exceeds the impact zone of most other vehicles

Joint Strength and Side Crash Rails

F

  • Superior body strength to protect students from side impacts
  • Prevention of penetration into the passenger compartment

Fuel Tank Integrity

F

  • A large steel cage to protect the fuel tank against crash impact and leakage

Rollover Protection

F

  • Reinforced steel construction of body and roof system to protect students in the event of a rollover

Emergency Exit

F

  • Rapid evacuation of students due to the number, design and location of exits (roof, door, and windows) and their ease of use

Passenger Compartment and Safety Seats

F

  • Protection of student seating compartment using specially designed and padded seats
  • Passenger compartment design that buffers the interior environment around the passengers, like an egg carton protects eggs

 Loading Zone Protection

Stop and 
Crossing Arms and Warning Lights

F/S

  • Stop Arm to provide traffic control protection for children crossing the road to board and exit bus
  • Crossing Arm that requires boarding student crossing the road to walk away from the bus's front bumper so that driver can see student at all times
  • Amber and red flashing lights that alert traffic to the bus's intent to stop at school bus stop zones. By law, traffic must stop when school buses display flashing red lights.
  • Crossview mirrors that give bus drivers a better view of children in front of and around the bus

Controlled Rider Access

AS

  • School buses transport students exclusively; no strangers or unauthorized passengers may share bus with students

Vehicle Inspection

MS

  • Annual inspection that maintains buses in safe operating condition

Yellow Color and School Bus Markings

F

  • Nationally recognizable yellow vehicle color with black "School Bus" lettering front and rear alerts motorists to use caution around buses. Little other lettering is allowed.
  • Conspicuous reflective markings on bus exterior to aid in visibility of vehicle at night and outline bus emergency exit locations

School bus drivers operating commercial vehicles must:

Driver Licensing

FS

  • Pass rigorous tests before receiving a license to transport students
  • Have a current Commercial Driver's License with a School Bus Endorsement, required by law

Driver Training

S

  • Receive specialized classroom and behind-the-wheel training in driving a school bus, carrying out a school bus stop, student loading/unloading procedures, student evacuation, student behavior and security management, and emergency medical procedures

Driver Records Check

MS

  • Be subjected to frequent driver records checks to assure that their license is not suspended
  • Have no more than four points on their license (requirement in many states)

Alcohol and Drug Testing

FS

  • Participate in pre-employment, random, and post-accident testing

Medical Qualifications

F

  • Pass a periodic medical exam, no less than every two years, to ensure they are medially qualified to transport students

Criminal Background Check

MS

  • Have a pre-employment criminal background check

Physical Performance Testing

SS

  • Pass a test that certifies their ability to physically evacuate students from the bus

 

 

KEY
R Result of requirements
F Required by Federal Law
F/S Required by Federal and State Laws
AS Required by All States
MS Required by Most States
SS Required by Several States