School Bus – Safety, Requirements, Cost and Types

School Bus Safety

School buses are specially designed vehicles of transportation for students age’s five to twelve. Most Colleges and University offers school bus transportation freely as well. It is a priority to keep such buses distinguished from other vehicles. Usually, school buses are yellow with the words ‘school bus’ written on the front of it or it is branded with the school’s logo, colour or image. They need to be customized in order to make them visible from a distance by parents or students. These types of buses are able to accommodate approximately ten to seventy school children. They go into school zones on a daily basis and transport children from home to their destination; that’s the reason why higher standards of safety are necessary.

Requirements for Driving a School Bus

To drive a school bus one of the general requirement that a driver must have is a standard driving license. Generally, a school bus driver must have:

  • 20-hour bus driving certification,
  • Trained in customer care, disability awareness and attention to detail,
  • A medical examination which includes a Department of Transportation (DOT) physical, as well as a drug and eye test,
  • A driving record check is also conducted prior to hiring the driver,
  • Copies of all the related forms and documents are also required; it is mandatory that all the submitted documents be up to date,
  • The driver also need to be knowledgeable about the route that he/she is expected to navigate.

Apart from this, the vehicle must receive clearance to transport passengers and the driver must be cleared by the school’s administrator to operate the bus.

School Bus Charter

The cost of using a school bus varies from districts to districts. Usually, a school can spend approximately $500.00 or more in expenditure to ensure that transportation is available for students free of charge. You will also need to apply with the school to ensure that your child can be allocated a seat in the bus per term. On the other end, it may be that the parent has to pay a monthly or yearly cost of $50.00 or greater for transportation to and from school. It all depends upon in which district the school and child resides in.

Safety Rules for Riding the School Bus

School buses are safer than other forms of transportation for your child.  A great level of care is exhibited while designing these buses. Apart from the stringent regulations adopted for issuing driving license to the drivers.

Parents and students also have to play their part by abiding to certain rules and regulations. Such rules may differ from school to school, but those related to school transportation are relatively the same. For parents who choose the option of a school bus for their children these are a few safety rules that your child must obey:

  1. They should obey the driver’s instructions.
  2. They should not be standing while the vehicle is moving.
  3. There should be no use of profane and abusive language on the school bus.
  4. Students are not allowed to eat on the bus.
  5. It is mandatory to cross the street in front of the bus and keep eye contact with the driver.
  6. Ensure that the bus is completely open before entering and existing.
  7. Recording devices and radio etc. are also prohibited in the bus.
  8. The use of drugs in the bus is strictly prohibited.
  9. In case of an emergency it is wise to ask the driver to stop the vehicle first before any further action be taken.
  10. Always be aware of your surroundings to ensure that no stranger is stalking you; remove your head phone, don’t text on your phone etc…

Types of School Bus

A school bus is made up  of steel, which is an alloy of iron and a small amount of carbon in order to increase their crash worthiness. There are several types of buses used to transport students, these are:

  • Cutaway cut section: These vehicles are built on the cut away front sections. They have the capacity to transport more than 10 students. They have Gross vehicle weight either more than 10,000 pounds or less than 10,000 pounds.
  • Front Section Vehicle Chassis: These buses also come up to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. They have a front section vehicle chassis. The engine is present on the side of the driver seat, behind the windshield. The front chassis is striped. It is designed to meet the need for specific districts. This school bus also weighs 10,000 pounds in weight.
  • Flat Black Cowl Chassis: These buses are the more traditional form of high school students’ vehicle. They have a flat black cowl chassis. The entrance door is present on the side of the front wheel. The engine is present in front of the windshield. They also weigh 10,000 pounds and designed to carry more than 10 students.
  • Transit style school bus: These buses have features of all the other vehicles, except they are built on a chassis. The entrance door is present ahead of the front wheel. The engine is present besides driver seat or on the rear side.
  • School Activity Bus: Such vehicles not only carry students from school to home and vice versa, rather they have a multi-functional role. Unlike traditional school buses, they have white outer paint. These buses can’t be used in the normal school to the home route. They are exempted from certain rules but still have to fulfill the crash worthiness standard of school buses.

Transport for Greater Manchester Head of Bus, Howard Hartley, said: “Yellow school buses are a great way to travel, providing children and their parents with a safe, reliable and environmentally friendly alternative to the school.”

I hope that reading this article provides you with a better understanding of using the school bus as a means of transporting your children to and from school. What form of transportation do you use in order to get your child to and from school?

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