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Hiring School Bus Driver – Important Guidelines to Follow

Tuesday February 20, 2018


Parents and school authorities unanimously agree to the fact that a background check of the school bus drivers is essential before they are allowed to drive a school bus. Per year an average of 22,000 school bus accidents happen in a year.

This amounts to almost 60 school bus accidents that happen each day in the United States. The requirements to take charge as a school bus driver changes from state to state.

Although, it is necessary to have a school diploma and a commercial driving license to apply for the post of a school bus driver. Schools rely upon school buses to transport students for after school programs.

These are not necessarily the fleet of schools but also private transportation companies who run after school activity programs.

Present Scenario

Outside companies are given contracts for bus services by a majority of district schools across the country. It is still unclear as to who is responsible for conducting a thorough background check of the drivers who are assigned to drive a school bus.

There is no hard and fast rule to determine the authenticity of a driver and his previous records.

There is the Safety of Our School Children Act that makes it mandatory for school and educational institutions to obtain a background check by FBI on drivers before employing them or offering them a job as a school bus driver.

The bill prohibits district schools and other educational authorities to hire bus drivers or other employees if they have convicted of a felony like a crime of violence or drunken driving.

But FBI fingerprint check is not sufficient and chances are rare that the bill in enacted. There are chances that applicants put wrong information on their resumes and exaggerate their qualifications while appearing for an interview.

The Concern

Parents worry about their children when they leave for school and from school. It is quite natural for them to be concerned about their kids.

When you wave goodbye to your children while they leave for school your concerns are whether your kid has reached school safely, has your child had eaten lunch, are they being bullied at school, have they boarded the bus back home, etc.

One of the biggest issues parents come across is if the bus driver is driving the vehicle safely. It must be ensured that the driver mustn’t have any criminal records and is not driving the vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

There is a difference between commercial truck drivers and school bus drivers. Commercial truck drivers who operate across states are required to follow many federal safety rules as they take routes across state lines which a very few school buses travel interstate.

School bus drivers are to take up a commercial driver's license. Because of this drivers who don't qualify for a job working for large commercial transportation companies are still eligible to drive a school bus.

Truck drivers are often regulated and monitored not just for driving related of criminal offenses but also for medical conditions that may inhibit their ability to drive a commercial vehicle.

So it is important to check the background of a driver to make sure that he is driving the school bus safely.

How to Ensure an Effective Screening Program

So as we know that a real good screening program is essential to find a driver with whom we can entrust our children the question arises how we can do that. Let us find out how we can make sure that the screening program is effective.

The driver's security must be checked in the first phase where he must possess the motor vehicles reports. If he is a truck driver his work history database must be checked.

Along with this the Commercial Driver's License Information System (CDLIS) is a system which records all the reports of the driver.

There is the Social Security number Trace which can help to trace the reports names and addresses associated with a particular Social Security Number.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is an agency in the United States Department of Transportation that regulates the trucking industry. Truck driver's history can be obtained from the agency's database.

Once the first phase of screening is complete organizations may want to conduct further research on the candidates. The criminal record search may be conducted in compliance with the state or country which can reveal any criminal records of the driver.

Drug or alcohol history verifications from the past employers can be done to verify any discrepancies.

The final phase will include the physical examination of the candidate so as to ensure the health condition. To add up to this pre-employment drug test can also be engaged to find out if the driver has been intoxicated in the recent past.

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