Bus Safety

School bus drivers must have a commercial driver’s license if they drive a vehicle designed to transport (seat) 16 or more persons, including the driver. School bus drivers must have a school bus endorsement in addition to a passenger endorsement on their commercial driver’s license (CDL). To get the school bus endorsement, you must pass a knowledge test on sections 2, 4 and 10 of this manual. (If your school bus has air brakes, you must also pass a knowledge test on Section 5.) You must also pass the skills test required for the class of school bus you drive or intend to drive. This section does NOT provide information on all the federal and state requirements needed before you drive a school bus. You should be thoroughly familiar with all specific school bus procedures, laws and regulations in your state and local school district.

The danger zone is the area anywhere outside of the bus where children are in the most danger of being hit, either by another vehicle or their own bus. The danger zones extend as much as 30 feet from the front bumper, 10 feet from the left and right sides of the bus and 10 feet behind the rear bumper of the school bus. In addition, the area to the left of the bus is always considered dangerous because of passing vehicles.

Proper adjustment and use of all mirrors is vital to the safe operation of the school bus in order to observe the danger zone around the bus and look for students, traffic, and other objects in this area. You should always check each mirror before operating the school bus to obtain maximum viewing area consistent with the vision requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 111, “Mirror Systems”. If necessary, have the mirrors adjusted.

These mirrors are mounted at the left and right front corners of the bus at the side or front of the windshield. They are used to monitor traffic, check clearances and students on the sides and to the rear of the bus. There is a blind spot immediately below and in front of each mirror and directly in back of the rear bumper. The blind spot behind the bus could extend up to 400 feet depending on the width of the bus.

Ensure that the mirrors are properly adjusted so you can see:

· 200 feet or 4 bus lengths behind the bus.
· Along the sides of the bus.
· The rear tires touching the ground.

The convex mirrors are located below the outside flat mirrors. They are used to monitor the left and right sides at a wide angle. They provide a view of traffic, clearances, and students at the side of the bus. These mirrors present a view of people and objects that does not accurately reflect their size and distance from the bus.

Ensure that the mirrors are properly adjusted so you can see:

· The entire side of the bus up to the mirror mounts.
· Front of the rear tires touching the ground.
· At least one traffic lane on either side of the bus.

These mirrors are mounted on both left and right front corners of the bus. They are used to see the “danger zone” area directly in front of the bus that is not visible by direct vision, and to view the “danger zone” areas to the left side and right side of the bus, including the service door and front wheel areas. The mirror presents a view of people and objects that does not accurately reflect their size and distance from the bus. The driver must ensure that these mirrors are properly adjusted.

Ensure that the mirrors are properly adjusted so you can see:

· The entire area in front of the bus from the front bumper at ground level to a point where direct vision is possible. Direct vision and mirror view vision should overlap.
· The right and left front tires touching the ground.
· The area from the front of the bus to the service door.
· These mirrors, along with the convex and flat mirrors, should be viewed in a logical sequence to ensure that a child or object is not in any of the danger zones.

This mirror is mounted directly above the windshield on the driver’s side area of the bus. This mirror is used to monitor passenger activity inside the bus. It may provide limited visibility directly in back of the bus if the bus is equipped with a glass-bottomed rear emergency door. There is a blind spot area directly behind the driver’s seat as well as a large blind spot area that begins at the rear bumper and could extend up to 400 feet or more behind the bus. You must use the exterior side mirrors to monitor traffic that approaches and enters this area.

Ensure that the mirrors are properly adjusted so you can see:

· The top of the rear window in the top of the mirror.
· All of the students, including the heads of the students right behind you.

More students are killed while getting on or off a school bus each year than are killed as passengers inside of a school bus. As a result, knowing what to do before, during, and after loading or unloading students is critical. This section will give you procedures to help you avoid unsafe conditions which could result in injuries and fatalities during and after loading and unloading students.

Each school district establishes official routes and official school bus stops. All stops should be approved by the school district prior to making the stop. You should never change the location of a bus stop without written approval from the appropriate school district official.

You must use extreme caution when approaching a school bus stop. You are in a very demanding situation when entering these areas. It is critical that you understand and follow all state and local laws and regulations regarding approaching a school bus stop. This would involve the proper use of mirrors, alternating flashing lamps, and when equipped, the moveable stop signal arm and crossing control arm.

When approaching the stop, you should:

· Approach cautiously at a slow rate of speed.
· Look for pedestrians, traffic, or other objects before, during, and after coming to a stop.
· Continuously check all mirrors.
· If the school bus is so equipped, activate alternating flashing amber warning lamps before the school bus stop in accordance with state law.
· Continuously check mirrors to monitor the danger zones for students, traffic, and other objects.
· Move as far as possible to the right on the traveled portion of the roadway.
· Bring school bus to a full stop with the front bumper at least 10 feet away from students at the designated stop. This forces the students to walk to the bus so you have a better view of their movements.
· Place transmission in Park, or if there is no Park shift point, in Neutral and set the parking brake at each stop.
· Open service door, if possible, enough to activate alternating red lamps when traffic is a safe distance from the school bus.
· Make a final check to see that all traffic has stopped before completely opening the door and signaling students to approach.

 

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