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Why We Need School Bus Drivers In This Age Of Automation

School buses are considered to be the safest mode of transportation of students to and from schools. A school bus driver is the most responsible person involved in the transportation of children to school and back. He is the main interface between students, their parents and the school.

He is the main interface between students, their parents and the school.

A school bus driver is the most responsible person involved in the transportation of children to school and back. He is the main interface between students, their parents and the school.

Read Also: Why School Bus Drivers Deserve Our Respect

The advancements in technology have brought about innovations in the field of manufacture of vehicles.

Driverless autonomous vehicles are being tested by leading vehicle manufacturers, whether it would be practical to use these buses to transit children needs to be assessed.


A school bus driver is responsible for the safe transportation of students. His duties are not merely confined to that of driving alone. He is in charge of the students during the time they are on the bus.

He picks the students from pre-designated stops at fixed timings. Any delay in the schedule is intimated to the parents. Traffic jams, accidents and other disruptions on the school bus route are informed to the school.


The school bus driver’s role as a communicator is of utmost importance. The parents feel comfortable to leave their children in the hands of a reliable and able bus driver. Similarly, the school management is at ease when they are convinced that student safety is assured.

The bus driver is the most often met personnel of a school. The parents meet the driver on a daily basis and communicate with him. A smiling and friendly bus driver reaches out to the children as well as the parents.

The students on the bus tend to fight and bully each other. It is the bus driver who resolves these minor skirmishes. Any major fight or quarrel is reported to the school authorities. It is the school bus driver’s duty to ensure discipline and safety on the bus. He has to see that no injury is caused.


Technology and automation have resulted in the production of driverless buses. Driverless buses, as the name suggests, helps in doing away with drivers.

Driverless buses are a boon when school bus drivers are in shortage. As such, the system does not seem to need human drivers any more.

Recruitment and hiring of drivers can be a gargantuan task involving high expenditures. Autonomous buses will reduce the costs and the several constraints in hiring drivers.

The need for staff, both supervisorial and managerial staff to manage the drivers and the human resources staff to recruit them, is minimal. A decrease in personnel means drastic reductions in operating costs.

Autonomous vehicles are considered safer. Driverless vehicles are not likely to engage in risky driving. Driver inattention or the driver’s lack of knowledge of the rules is not relevant. The vehicles obey traffic rules and travel at a steady speed.

The numerous sensors, cameras and radars on the autonomous vehicles detect traffic lights, recognize obstacles and brakes autonomously. When the bus approaches the stops, the doors are opened and closed automatically.

The cameras scan the road and the radars monitor the traffic ahead. The data generated drives the bus on an exacting and precise route.

Autonomous buses are efficient in routing and scheduling school bus trips. They follow set routes scheduled to be covered in fixed times. It is easy to change the routes if required.

The wear and tear of an autonomous vehicle is less than that of a human-driven vehicle due to the predictive driving style. Frequent accelerations and braking do not happen as the vehicle travels at steady speeds.

The vehicles have lower fuel consumption and lower emission rates. This reduces vehicle breakdowns and curtails maintenance expenses.

Read Also: School Bus Transportation Security – 18 Practices to Follow

The reduced expenses make it cheaper to utilize autonomous school buses, improving the mobility and the speed of operations.

The low-risk, low-speed driverless vehicle would help schools in cutting costs and improving the efficiency of their transportation system.


A shift to automated autonomous buses will eliminate the need for drivers causing huge unemployment issues in the community.

An automated driverless bus can solve mobility issues. But in areas where human interaction is required it fails.

Parents choose school buses as the means of transportation as it is considered the safest option with a responsible driver on board. A good percentage of parents are not willing to let their children ride in driverless vehicles.

Parents are at peace when knowing their child is in safe hands. Students feel comfortable when travelling with a known person. Driverless buses will not cater to these emotional needs. This human need is of importance and is of concern when not addressed.

Bus drivers who have been servicing the same route over a period of years are known to the students and parents. He is compassionate and helps students when in distress. The driver is a figure they look up to as role models. Drivers, in many cases, are even treated as part of the family.

Special needs children need to be assisted into the bus. The school bus driver is trained to help them. The needs of special children cannot be met by an autonomous vehicle.

An adult authority on a school bus becomes necessary to maintain discipline and safety on board. Problems like fights and quarrels between students have to be addressed before it escalates to violence.

In cases of emergency, like a fire, an adult on the bus will help in guiding the children into safety. When breakdowns and accident occurs mid-way to school, the students on the bus have to be transferred to a safer transport while still on the road.

It is the school bus driver that assists the students in these emergencies. An autonomous vehicle with no driver will lead to disastrous results in such cases.

A school bus driver keeps watching the students on the bus. If he finds a child predator, which has inadvertently entered the bus, he can inform the police and all authorities concerned to safeguard the children on the bus. In a driverless bus this aspect of safety cannot be governed.

The bus driver acts as a liaison between the students on the bus and the school. They are the first to respond to any crisis. Any untoward occurrences encountered on his route are reported immediately enabling school administration to respond quickly.

Another drawback noted in autonomous vehicles is that despite the numerous functions on board, the cleaning and vehicle inspection cannot be assigned to any software. It would be complicated to assign these functions to robotic designs and may result in inaccuracy.


Autonomous buses, in a school’s context, may be used ideally when buses are required for special events.

When a breakdown occurs to a regular bus on a scheduled trip, driverless buses can be deployed in picking up the students and completing the trip. This operation will save time and inconvenience to the students.

In short, driverless buses can be used occasionally to assist and increase the efficiency of the normal bus operations.

Read Also: School Bus Drivers Health Problems And Solutions

Autonomous buses can be utilized as school buses as the cost of operation is low. But an adult on board the bus is essential to ensure the happiness of the student and the parent alike. As for the school, an aide on board the bus is necessary to maintain the discipline and safety of the students.

Though fully automated vehicles require no drivers, the need for personnel on board to assist with discipline and safety is envisaged. A school bus driver’s human touch will still be required. An autonomous vehicle can never be a match for human interaction.

Is Driving A School Bus An Enjoyable Job?

A school bus driver’s job is very challenging. Transporting students to and from school is one of great responsibility. The safety and comfort of students are of prime consideration to the school bus drivers.

Like any other job, the interest and dedication to the profession make the school bus driver’s job enjoyable. Driving a school bus can be enjoyable if the driver can relate to children on the bus.

One who has a low tolerance level to kid’s antics and especially high sound levels may not find the job interesting.

Read Also: Why School Bus Drivers Deserve Our Respect

Drivers working for a bus system owned by a school or a school district are generally happier. They drive the same routes every day. They get to know each child on the bus and are able to develop a healthy relationship with them. The drivers also interact with the parents all through the school year on a daily basis.

Whereas a driver working for a contracted school bus company may not find their job enjoyable, the contract companies are more focused on profits and not on children. Drivers are juggled around depending on the decision of the transportation manager each day.

They drive different routes for different schools and hence building a rapport with children or parents become impossible. This clearly makes the drivers unhappy.

Most of the drivers feel that their job is rewarded by each child’s smile every morning. The child is invariably rushed to the bus stop in the mornings by the busy parents who have no time for niceties.

The child is therefore only too happy to see the familiar cheerful welcoming face. Similarly at the end of a tiring school day the child once again sees the school bus driver who is known to him. The child feels secure in the care of the school bus driver.

Utmost dedication and patience is the virtue of a good school bus driver. Affection for children and an ability to mingle with them is certainly of help to manage the students on board the bus.

A pleasant disposition with both students and parents will entail the school bus driver being included in the community.

Drivers term the students as precious cargo. They feel like carrying the future citizens of the country. Hence they are very careful and responsible in handling them.


The relationship with children and their parents leads to the drivers being accepted into their community. The drivers are invited for fetes, carnivals etc hosted by the community. The drivers are even called for college graduation day celebrations.

This inclusiveness raises the self-esteem of the driver. He feels important and in turn takes on himself the task of caring for the children on board the bus. Connecting with community and being surrounded by children on a regular basis keeps the drivers young at heart.

The drivers use their discretion depending on the relationships. If a normally punctual child is running late, the driver might wait for a reasonable time instead of sticking rigidly to his time schedule.

Teachers often change during the school life of a child. But a school bus driver remains the same for the duration of the student’s school life.

The job of a school bus driver is most of the time a part-time job. Drivers who can deal with part-time hours find the job enjoyable. The school bus drivers have a lot of independence.

Drivers can do other jobs during their free time to augment their income. They can attend to their personal needs at home.

The flexibility in their job allows the school bus driver to be happy. School bus drivers who work part-time have flexible schedules as compared to rigid schedules of a full-time job.

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They can opt not to work on days they are otherwise engaged. They can take up other work during their idle time. Most drivers enjoy the flexible schedule so that they can mesh together their personal life and professional life seamlessly.

The school bus drivers have the opportunity to do additional work like driving students on field trips, athletic events etc. The schools operate on school year calendars where time off is given for Christmas, summer and spring breaks.

Transporting children to and from school for five days a week is the main job of the school bus driver. Hence they enjoy their weekends and evenings off giving them ample time to spend with their families and friends.

A school bus driver does not have to spend years obtaining a certificate or degree. A school bus driver’s profession would be apt for those who do not wish to spend years studying.

A driver’s license and the special skill training to be a school bus driver will enable him in transporting the young children safely to and from school. He is surrounded by playful children and appreciative parents. He interacts with people in the community.

There are other humane aspects which make the driver’s job enjoyable. The exchange of greetings like good mornings on entering the bus and the good days while being dropped off at the end of the day is an encouragement for the drivers.

The drivers get an insight of the different personalities and their traits. It ranges from the mild mannered, boisterous, polite, considerate, taunting and bullying nature.   


The driver witnesses the warm exchanges between children and their parents or grandparents while they are being dropped off at the bus stops. The drivers in the bargain learn to be patient, compassionate and caring.

The school bus driver’s job is repetitive. An early morning start in all weather conditions, checking of the condition of the vehicle daily, memorizing routes and pick up points, tackling traffic are inevitable acts that the driver has to perform day in and out.

The loud noise of chatter and communication of students on the bus, the fights between students, dealing with irate parents and school authorities are other challenges the driver faces. Without a sincere dedication to his duty the driver would not be able to do these tasks.

The remuneration of a school bus driver may not be very high. But the immense satisfaction the driver derives in transporting young scholars to and from school safely makes his job enjoyable.

The work life balance is high. If working part-time hours, the driver finds sufficient time to do time his household duties. He can take up other jobs during his free time if he needs to augment his income.

The driver has to handle plenty of responsibility. The parents and school entrust their children with the driver. His alertness and ability to make the right decision is of paramount importance to the safety of the passengers. Though stressful at times the job of the school bus driver is relaxed in general.

The added benefits of payment during summer duty, additional money on field trips, the holidays and flexible schedules make the job attractive. Helping special needs children makes the job even more worthwhile. Co-worker interaction helps the drivers to learn from each other’s experiences.

The job provides job security. There are plenty vacancies for school bus drivers at all times. Performing the job to the best of one’s ability and remaining extremely professional will ensure that the job is secure.

Being safe, punctual, reliable, responsible and behaving appropriately with the children on the bus are key factors pertaining to retaining a school bus driver’s job.

Read Also: School Bus Transportation Security – 18 Practices to Follow

There isn’t much of career advancement in the school bus driver’s job. Sometimes they are promoted to drive bigger vehicles like coaches or offered trainer positions. The special skills acquired to drive a school bus can be easily taught to other drivers.

The school bus driver sets the tone for the day. The first and last face the child sees during a school day is that of the school bus driver. The driver who enjoys his job and is happy will make the child’s day on the bus a pleasant experience.

Why School Bus Drivers Deserve Our Respect

The primary duty of the School Bus Driver is the transportation of students to and from school regularly.  The parents and the school entrust their children to the school bus driver for safe and secure transportation. He has to be committed to his profession in order to work to the satisfaction of all concerned.

A school bus driver’s job is considered an easy, simple task and not considered worthy of mention. The stress and strain undergone by the drivers in the seemingly simple task of transportation are not to be neglected.

Read Also: School Bus Drivers Health Problems And Solutions

They deserve enormous respect for the one single fact that they are the safe transporters of the nations young.

School Bus Driver – Role

The role of a school bus driver is a multi-faceted one. His responsibility is not limited to mere driving. In addition to possessing a valid driver’s license he needs to both possess driving and inter-personal relationship skills.

Driving skills include knowledge of traffic rules and experience in driving heavy vehicles. Ability to stay focused on the road and to remain alert at all times is a necessity for safe driving.


School bus drivers interact with students, parents, teachers, school authorities, transport companies, other drivers on the road on a daily basis.

The driver’s attitude and behavior have a large impact on the relations with each one of them. The expectations from a school bus driver are many and the challenges faced by him from various quarters are even greater.


The school bus driver is expected to be a perfect time-manager.  Sticking to designated routes and being punctual at bus stops and on-time arrival at school is of daily concern to the driver.

A slight deviation in timings caused due to traffic blocks, accidents or even late arrival of children at stops invites the wrath of both parents and school.

slight deviation in timings caused due to traffic blocks, accidents or even late arrival of children at stops invites the wrath of both parents and school.

School bus drivers are the first point of contact for parents each day. Since the bus drivers have a one to one interaction with the parents, they are required to be pleasant and smiling always.

They have to be kind and polite with the students and parents. This will assure the parent that there child is in good hands.

The driver has to be positive and dedicated to his job. An understanding of his prime responsibility of the safe transportation of children is necessary to ensure his commitment.

School Bus Driver Challenges


School bus drivers are responsible for the hundreds of children riding the buses to school and back. The safety of the children on-board their buses is a source of constant worry to them.

The biggest challenge for the school bus driver lies in driving a bus-load of 50 noisy children seated behind him, with only one mirror above his head to check their behavior.

The students keep talking, laughing, shouting, crying, fighting among themselves.  Some of them will be eating, walking up and down the aisle, ripping seats and some with special needs. Unruly behavior of students on buses is very common.

Students do not give enough respect to bus drivers. Students insult, use swear words and accuses the drives when he tries to discipline them.

At times, the drivers have to stop the buses to quiet the children and assure minimum disturbance before he proceeds further. This causes delays in the time schedules.

The students are disrespectful by leaving garbage in the bus to be cleaned by the drivers later. The students feel they have the liberty to do anything once outside the school campus. They are a disturbance to their riding compatriots who are quiet and disciplined and want to enjoy a safe ride.

School bus drivers do not expect impeccable behavior from youngsters. They only require them to have peaceful conversations without any disturbance.

The drivers, while keeping an eye on the students, need to drive safely, watching out for traffic on all sides. He has to comply with road signs, traffic signals, speed limits and crossings. The driver’s stress is compounded in adverse weather conditions.

Read Also: How Much Do School Bus Drivers Make

The boisterous and noisy students on the bus are a major cause of distraction to the drivers.The school bus driver has to monitor and maintain a level of discipline on the bus to minimize distractions. A moment of inattention can imperil the lives of the young children under his care.


Despite all the effort taken by the school bus driver to maintain cordial relations with all, he is faced with countless problems from parents.  He feels misunderstood and unappreciated by them.

Parents are always defensive when the driver points out the misconduct of their ward. This gives the child the feeling that he can misbehave and the driver is not an authority to be obeyed.

Prima facie the driver is blamed for any mishap on the bus by students, parents and school.The child’s version of the disciplinary measure meted out to him by the school bus driver very often upsets the parents. Parents react without learning the facts of the situation. They fail to give the driver the benefit of doubt.

The driver is usually faulted for non-tactful handling of the situation. This minimizes the impact of the wrong-doing and the student continues to engage in dangerous activities.

Parents can communicate with drivers through the special windows, but very often they barge into the bus blocking the entry passage. They interfere in fights among students and directly admonish those involved with their child.


The school bus drivers are reprimanded by the school administration for minor accidents, short delays, route deviations, faulty records. Many a time, the drivers are not given a fair hearing for their lapses. Reasons beyond the school bus drivers control are very often not given due consideration.

The cumbersome procedure in reporting of misbehavior of children on the bus does not elicit the desired result. The school bus driver reports misconduct.

The students are then removed from the bus. Parents complain and the students are re-instated. The driver’s efforts to maintain a level of decorum is disregarded.

Employing an annoyed, de-motivated, frustrated and distracted driver compromises the safety of children on board the bus.

 Personal grievances

The drivers have to deal with malfunctioning equipment in the bus like cameras, alarms, sensors etc. They are not trained sufficiently to handle medical emergencies or special needs children. Quick and ready access to their superiors is limited.

Long hours behind the wheels and irregular food habits cause health challenges in them. Stress, insomnia, obesity, muscular pains and gastric disorders are common ailments among the drivers.

Why the drivers deserve respect

All these factors show how exhausting the school bus driver’s job is. Every day offers something new and unstructured. Their performance against all odds is commendable.

School bus drivers need to be respected and appreciated for reaching students safely to school and back, amidst daunting circumstances inside and outside the bus.

The students need to be made aware of the difficult job that the drivers handle. They have to be taught that their safety is in the hands of the driver. Parents and school have to inculcate in them a respect for drivers. 

The thoughtless complaints raised against the drivers lower their morale and motivation to perform.  It would be beneficial to school bus drivers and authorities if due consideration is given to how challenging it is to navigate a cabin filled with young children through traffic and adverse weather while simultaneously maintaining discipline and order in the bus.

It is customary for school authorities to reward exemplary students and compliment teachers. The system of transportation is often overlooked until something bad occurs. They should be equated with the other staff in the school system.

Read Also: School Bus Driver Safety – How Technology Can Play a Role

The drivers do not seek any special recognition. They need to be listened to. Their requests should be heeded.All that the school bus drivers require is to feel included, that they are an important part of student education.

This dedicated group of drivers should be thanked profusely and praised for their efforts in safely transporting the students to school and back.

9 Ways To Reduce School Bus Transportation Costs

Schools and school districts are constantly on the look-out to reduce operational costs wherever possible. The reduced budgets given to schools prompt them to cut costs in areas that do not directly affect classroom studies. School Bus transportation costs thus become a target when school administrations seek to curtail their expenses.

Read Also : 7 Tips To Improve Fuel Efficiency In School Buses

Bus transportation costs depend on the age of the fleet, wages, maintenance expenditure,fuel-consumption, insurance charges. This comprises of 80% of the total cost.Capital costs include purchase cost of new vehicles and cost of fleet replacement. Operating a school bus fleet at optimal efficiency has a direct impact on the costs saved.

Methods to reduce school bus transportation costs

1. Reducing the number of buses

Operating a fleet of school buses is expensive. The best method to reduce costs is to reduce the number of buses in operation. Trimming the fleet automatically decreases driver wages, fuel consumption, wear and tear of vehicles etc. These factors contribute enormously in saving costs.


Efficient route management is the most practical way to lower costs without hampering the quality of service provided.The best model in cost-cutting serves to get students to school efficiently while optimizing transport times.

2. Route management

Transporting pupils to schools is a complex matter. Technological advances have helped school administrators tackle the issue with considerable ease. Software systems are used to develop bus routes. Some schools still do the route mapping manually.

Schools have to periodically review their bus routes in terms of the actual number of students using the bus and the total time utilized. Simple adjustments to the previous year’s routes will not help in lowering operational costs.

School administrators cut backs on stops and routes to stay within the budget. Minor changes in operations like minimizing trips and routes, often result in great advantages.

3. Trip planning

The number of students at each bus-stop, stop locations and bus capacities has a direct impact on the charting of bus routes. Minimizing the number of trips minimizes the number of buses required.

Trips can be linked together on a single bus route if school start and finish timings are altered slightly. The elementary, middle and high school start and dismissal times are fixed to fall within a certain time slot.

Then it becomes possible to link more trips together on a single bus. This decreases the number of buses required in total. The optimal combination of alternate bell timings and trips results in saving costs and increasing efficiency.

4. Route planning

A method used to increase operational efficiency is route planning. A single route is designed for children of different schools in a school district. Trips of different schools are combined to form one route.

A single bus is assigned to this specific route. This reduces the time the buses run without students on board as well as the number of buses on each route.  Each route becomes longer but serves more trips on one single route.

Read Also: 10 Important Benefits of Propane Based School Buses

This minimizes the number of routes resulting in lower operational costs. Pollution caused by diesel exhaust fumes is reduced to a large extent. This model is viable where schools fall under the purview of one governing authority and the services of a centralized bus company is utilized. Private schools which own their own buses might not be open to this model.

5. Walking School Bus

‘Walking School Bus’ is a new concept which has been adopted by neighborhoods in the US. When rerouting to optimize costs, some of the routes closer to the schools get eliminated. In such cases, students along those routes group together and walk to school under the supervision of an adult.

The parents and children like the idea of walking as it is healthy. Students feel energetic and fresher. Most often students get to school quicker as school buses normally take more time picking up children on their routes.

These students can either walk or bike to school. This enables students staying further away, disabled or otherwise-able students to avail bus services .Student safe zones have to be ensured.

6. Alternative fuel vehicles

States and cities in the US spend roughly $15 million annually transporting children to school. Diesel, that powers most of the buses, is now very expensive.

Governmental regulations on cutting down the pollution, forces one to adopt alternative fuel sources for running vehicles. Propane, CNG and Electric vehicles are available options. Hybrid diesel-electric vehicles, though expensive, are used by some schools.

Cost of vehicles running on alternative fuel is high as compared to the cost of diesel engine vehicles. There is a significant reduction in fuel costs. Air pollution due to diesel exhaust fumes is drastically reduced leaving lesser carbon footprint.  Better utilization of the buses can make it viable in the long run.

The buses in the existing fleet can be retrofitted with alternative fuel engines. This can help reduce the initial capital expenditure. When deciding to retrofit, the age of the vehicle has to be taken into account,to gain maximum benefit.

7. Maintenance cost

Regular maintenance is needed to keep the buses safe on the road. Less number of school buses on the road means lesser maintenance of vehicles. Savings on parts, supplies and labor is considerable when the number of buses is minimal.

A maintenance program that can extend the life of buses is essential.Periodical regular maintenance and scheduled preventive maintenance will reduce the incidence of unexpected breakdowns and the costs associated.

Schools and transport companies need to have policies on disposal of buses that cannot serve efficiently.

8. Staff expenses

A reduction in the number of buses will require less number of staff to man them. The reduced number of drivers brings about a huge saving in wages. Efficient routing and time management will reduce overtime costs.

Fleet management software provides real-time feedback and comprehensive reporting enabling safe and efficient pupil transportation.

Using digital software systems for routing, GPS systems for locations, RFID readers for bus attendance; CCTV to monitor bus discipline reduces the need for administrators handling these functions manually.

The one-time capital expenditure to install the technology and equipment required will considerably save on otherwise recurring expenses.

9. Down-side of cost reduction

Re-routing and elimination of routes will leave a good number of students without transport. Cutting bus routes without proper plans regarding student safety will cause adverse effects.

When bus stops or routes are eliminated parents react with anger. They are concerned about the dangers involved when their wards walk or cycle to school. Parents then opt to drop them to school in their cars.

Read Also : 15 Splendid Ways to Reduce Fuel Cost [For School Buses]

About36 cars are needed to transport an equivalent bus-load of students. This proportionately increases traffic congestion and corresponding air pollution on the roads.

The incidence of accidents is higher among cars increasing the risk of safety. School buses meet with fewer accidents. Their big sizes allow them to withstand damage better on an impact. School buses are considered to be 13 times safer than cars.

School buses in the US alone transport 25 million students, travelling distances of approximately 4 billion miles each year. Decreasing school budgets and rising fuel prices necessitates minimizing school bus operational costs.

It is worth the effort to stream-line the operations to ensure safer transportation of students at minimal costs to the school.

4 Ways To Find The Best School Bus Driver

The responsibility of a school bus driver is much more than mere driving. Parents and the schools entrust their children to the drivers for safe transportation to and from school.

Possessing a valid driver’s license and satisfying the age criteria to drive school buses is the bare minimum requirement. The bus driver should complete a special training program to be a school bus driver.

Apart from the eligibility criteria, school bus drivers need to have additional characteristics. This is a necessary requirement since the passengers the drivers deal with are children of different age groups and the people they report to are varied – parents, teachers, school authorities and transport authorities.

Read Also: Master the Skills of School Bus Driver Roles and Be Successful

Selecting the best school bus driver

School bus drivers are hired on the basis of their resumes the school transport department receives and also recommendations from bus companies.

Selecting the best driver is about picking aspects that show they can perform the task professionally. To make the selection process easier it would be most practical to list out the traits required.

Final selection can be made keeping these qualities in mind.


1. Driving skills


Driving large vehicles like the school bus requires skills which differ from driving small personal cars. On road experience of driving large vehicles amidst small cars, traffic hold-ups, road accidents etc is highly essential. The driver experience in transporting school children is definitely desirable.

Knowledge of traffic rules

The drivers have to be well versed with the traffic laws and regulations, in general and that pertaining to big vehicles, in particular. A different set of rules is applicable to school buses especially when stopping to pick and drop off students. The rules on the use of stop arms and flashing lights, while stopping, have to be strictly followed.

Road focus

School bus drivers should concentrate on the road, no matter what personal problems or distractions he/she faces. Distractions inside and outside the bus should not cause him to lose focus of his job.


Safe driving requires the driver to be mentally alert during his shift. His quick response is warranted in situations of emergency. Having a good night’s sleep and not being under the influence of alcohol will enable the driver to remain alert.


A keen sense of judgment is the key to safe driving and it comes with practice. The driver’s assessmentof the oncoming traffic, aggressive driving, vehicle speeding, pedestrian behavior etc help in avoiding accidents due to external factors.

Track record

The driver should have had an accident-free and clean driving record. He should be devoid of criminal cases. His credentials should be verified and counter checked with respective departments.

Mechanical skills

Knowledge of basic mechanical skills is highly desirable. Repair of minor technical issues by the driver himself will save down-time of the vehicle. This will help in maintaining schedules with the least disruption. Assisting in keeping the bus clean and checking the operation of the bus daily are additional points to be considered.

2. Operational efficiency


The school bus drivers are personnel on whom the schools and parents depend and rely on. The driver has to be punctual to the time schedules given to him. He should strictly adhere to the route charted out for him by the school. He should be prompt in updating parents and schools of any changes in route or timing.


A school bus driver must follow the specific route given to him. He should always keep to the timings for each stage on the route. A good time manager will start early to avoid traffic and begin his route on time. He should refrain from using alternate routes or short cuts if it affects the time schedule.

Effective Communicator

The parents see and interact with the school bus driver more frequently than any other person in the school. He has to be prompt in updating them on changes in time schedules and routes.

He has to answer their calls and queries politely. Bad conduct of their wards is communicated to the parents without offending those involved.

The school bus driver has to be in constant touch with the school transport department reporting delays due to traffic jams, road construction, accidents etc. Accurate and regular reporting is required to keep the operation smooth.


The school bus driver is in charge of the students on the bus. He should be confident and take the right decisions when it is required. He should be in effect a leader, always keeping in mind the well-being of the students.

The school bus driver is in charge of the students on the bus. He should be confident and take the right decisions when it is required. He should be in effect a leader, always keeping in mind the well-being of the students.

Maintaining Log

Daily recording of routes, trip times, distances run, fuel consumed etc. has to be kept. This information is required for efficient fleet management and is helpful in monitoring drivers. Student discipline reports have to be written.

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3. Behavioral Aspects


Being patient with the students on board the bus is the highest virtue that a school bus driver must have. He must understand that they are children and that patience with them is absolutely essential.

Even when the students are boisterous, he should be patient and be able to control them. This will ensure no mishaps and that the bus reaches the destination on time.

At times, the students tend to become violent and fight among themselves. The students get adamant about seating and their belongings, some indulge in misbehavior.

The driver requires extra-ordinary patience and skill to manage the children on the bus and at the same time drive the bus. He should be able to handle all situations with ease.

Being Personal: The driver has to build a healthy relationship with the children on the bus. He should try to remember their names, be kind and friendly to both parents and children. He should possess a pleasant demeanor, smiling at all times. His duty is to make the child and parent feel at ease while boarding the bus.

Staying Calm

Bus drivers do not have control over what happens on the road. Hence they have to be always prepared for any eventualities such as road rage, traffic conditions and bad weather.

Rational decisions have to be taken in adverse circumstances. They have to remain calm under situations of pressure keeping the safety of the passengers in mind.

4. Attitude

Being Positive

A positive attitude is required to perform a satisfactory driving job. Bad moods and personal problems should not affect the driver. This should not be reflected in his job at any time.


The school bus drivers must be dedicated to his job. He should enjoy doing his work. This will keep him in a happy frame of mind which will make his job easier. His commitment will be reflected in his dealings with the parents, students and authorities.

Respect for others

While the foundation of the driver’s job is to transport students, he has to respect all individuals he deals with. Each of these individuals, be it students or officials, contribute to the success of the driver. All of them have to be respected and appreciated.


School bus drivers should understand the nature of their work. A comprehension of the high degree of responsibility they are entrusted with is of utmost importance. Understanding that safety should be his priority at all times will make him function logically.

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These are the core traits that a school bus driver should have to be successful in his job. Finding the perfect fit for the best school bus driver is being able to recognize these traits.

While school buses are considered to be the safest mode of transportation for students, school bus drivers have a challenging task transporting them.  A driver with ample driving experience, knowledge and an interest in working with children would be an asset to the school.

School Bus Driver Salary 2020

500,000 school buses ply the road daily in the US alone. This calls for a requirement of an equal number of drivers well experienced in transporting students safely. The school bus drivers require responsibility and a high level of commitment. The driver should love to drive and must be aware of traffic laws.

Job Description of a School Bus Driver

School bus drivers are engaged mainly to pick up students from the bus stops, bring them to school and at the end of the day drop them back home. He also transports them on extra-curricular activities, field trips and class picnics.

The driver starts off his day from the school-yard ensuring that the bus is safe to drive and has enough fuel for the day’s trips. He must make sure the bus is properly maintained, should perform mechanical checkups on a weekly basis and properly keep a driving log.

He drives on pre-assigned routes, always keeping to schedules. He makes certain that the student is picked and dropped off at bus stops at the appointed times despite traffic jams, bad weather, and accidents on his route.


Safety is the prime aspect of a school bus driver. He has to be on constant look-out for erring vehicles on the road to avoid accidents. Drivers must know traffic rules and follow them diligently.

The next important quality in a driver is his level of maturity and calmness. He has to manage student discipline in the bus, fights and bullying among students. In addition to this, he has to handle irate parents and school authorities.

Qualities of a School Bus Driver:

  1. Customer service skills- School bus drivers often interact with parents, students and school authorities, so they must be courteous and helpful to their needs.
  2. Hand-eye coordination- A driver needs to be alert all the time while driving. He/she requires to have normal use of one’s arms and legs and should have good hand-eye coordination as well.
  3. Hearing ability-  it is required that a driver needs to have good hearing ability. He should be able to hear a forced whisper with or without using a hearing aid.
  4. Patience- A driver may overcome stressful situations like heavy traffic congestions, unruly passengers, etc, so a driver should be able to overcome these situations calmly and must maintain enough patience.
  5. Physical health-  A bus driver should have sound physical health. Federal and state regulations do not allow people facing health issues like high/ low blood pressure, epilepsy, etc to operate a bus. Because these health issues can interfere with driving. 
  6. Good vision-  Bus drivers should pass vision tests. People with poor vision or color blindness must keep away from becoming a driver. Federal regulations require at least 20/40 vision in each eye. He should be able to distinguish traffic colors also.

Pay of school drivers

The average annual salary of school bus driver, as per the Bureau of Statistics, is $29,250 which works out to $14.05 an hour. The lowest-paid school bus driver gets under $18,800 a year or $9 an hour. The highest-paid drivers receive above $47,800 annually which approximates to around $23 an hour.

Also Read: 15 Best School Bus Driving Games 2020 [Updated]

Most of the bus drivers are part-time employees. This is possible as school timings are fixed. They usually work in other places during their down-time.

The regular employees help in doing basic vehicle maintenance and do administrative jobs when not on school duty. This way the drivers make extra money as well as keep themselves gainfully occupied.

The schools normally pay the drivers for the hours and days worked. Doing extra runs during vacations for summer school activities, field trips, school picnics add to their earnings.

The actual wages offered to school bus drivers depend on the previous driving experience of the driver, prior driving history, the employer, location of work and the hours worked.

School Bus driver Salary Based on Location

SL noLocationSchool Bus driver Salary
1Seattle, USA$39,465/ Year
2Washington, USA$38,797/ Year
3Baltimore, USA $34,024/ Year
4Akron, USA $32,344/ Year
5New York City, USA$40,851/ Year
6Minneapolis, USA$39,943/ Year
7Toronto, ON AreaCA$ 18/hr
8CanadaCA $ 1,133/month
9AustraliaA$ 2,502/month
10Alabama$35,223/ Year
11San Francisco$43,841/ Year
12 India Rs 16,255/ month
13United Kingdom £ 10.35 per hour
14Switzerland CHF 68,699/ Year
15Germany€ 27,300 / Year
16London € 28,853 / Year

NB: “The above information is collected from various websites like Glassdoor, Indeed, Payscale, neuvoo, etc

Factors considered while deciding the wages of school drivers

Driving experience

The pay mainly depends on the driver’s prior experience in driving. The driver should obtain his Commercial Driving License as per state requirements and pass all federal alcohol/ drug tests and physical examinations.

School bus drivers undergo rigorous classroom and road training. Drivers on completion of a licensing exam obtain an endorsement to drive a school bus. Some states require drivers to take refresher courses to retain their licenses.

Drivers have to take road and knowledge tests at specific intervals, the number of years being specified by each state. Some employers pay for and train the drivers to attain the necessary standards.

As the drivers gain experience their earnings also increase. An entry-level school bus driver salary is $30,000 on average annually. A driver with an experience of 5 to 10 years can earn $31,000 annually in wages.

The earnings go up to $34000 annually for drivers with experience of 10-20 years.  Drivers with driving experiences above 20 years earn approximately $35000 annually.

Also Read: 27 Best GPS Tracking Apps for Android and iOS

Prior driving history

This means a track record of accident- free driving, clean criminal record and incident- free behavior of drivers.

School buses are the safest mode of transportation for students to and from school. Hence school bus drivers have to exercise extreme caution while driving.

School bus drivers, in addition to driving safely, are responsible for maintaining discipline inside the bus. They have to report misbehaving students to school authorities. They settle skirmishes and fights among students on the bus.

They have to answer parents and school authorities. Dealing with students and parents require tact and diplomacy. Drivers with a high level of maturity handle this with ease.

An excellent school bus driver is one with superb driving skills and an enormous amount of patience. They should be friendly and enjoy driving.

How many trips they make

Schools pay drivers on the basis of the number of trips they make in a day. Some schools hire them on a monthly salary. In addition to the daily trips, they are required to transport children on school field trips, museums visits and other extracurricular activities.

Some schools stagger their school timings so that the drivers get to drive multiple routes in a day. On average, drivers spend 20 hours per week behind the wheel.

Most of the drivers work during the school months and are off during summer months when the schools are closed.

Some of them work year-round with limited time off. There are drivers who consider school bus driving as a part-time job due to the fixed hours of working.

Some districts in the US have year-round schools. So they have full-time drivers. Special needs students attend extended year programs at school during summer.

Whom they work for

The school bus driver’s pay depends on whom they work for. Wages differ slightly from employer to employer. School districts for elementary and secondary schools pay their bus drivers an average of $15 an hour.

Those who work for transportation services earn slightly higher at $ 16.5 an hour. Those working for charter bus services earn around $16 an hour.

Since there is no prescribed standard wage, the employer can use his discretion to fix wages. Private school operators and charter bus services pay higher.

Location of work

The salaries of the drivers depend on the geographic location where they operate on. Average annual wages in the range of $39,000 to $43,500 are paid in cities like Washington, DC, New York etc.

Southern states of US, like Alabama, offer lesser annual wages ranging from $18500 to $21,000. Major metropolitan cities, like San Francisco, tend to pay higher annual packages of $52,500 approximately.

Children need to go to school and transporting them safely is a huge responsibility. Hence well-experienced school bus drivers are always in demand. Job security is the advantage of being a school bus driver. Inspite of this school bus drivers are not without complaints.

This is proved by the high attrition rate. They earn lesser than their counterparts with commercial driving licenses in other industries. There is a limit to the hours one can work.

Read Also: School Bus Drivers Training – 10 Tips For City Driving

The extra runs made by them are paid at lower rates than the normal. Drivers cannot afford the high premiums for health-care. The training for school bus driving is expensive with the aspirant paying all of it on his own.

Lack of support from the management of school and bus companies is a major reason for drivers leaving the school bus fleet.

Honest, dedicated, friendly and safety abiding drivers are always needed and in great demand. In addition to being professionally experienced, the school bus driver has to be humane to perform his duty cheerfully and responsibly.

School Bus Drivers Health Problems And Solutions

The job of the school bus driver comes with immense responsibility and requires utmost patience. Transporting students to and from school safely requires the drivers to adhere to rules and regulations strictly.

In addition to safe driving, dealing with students, parents, schools authorities and bus companies on a daily basis requires a lot of effort. These occupational hazards take a toll on the health of the school bus driver. The driver’s regular, hectic schedule relegates personal fitness to the lowest level of priority.

Major health issues faced by the School Bus Drivers and solutions:

Read Also: School Bus Drivers Training – 10 Tips For City Driving


Raises blood pressure and increases the level of stress hormones leading to heart problems

The job of the school bus driver involves high stress which causes in numerable diseases. Drivers have to drive the school buses safely through the busiest streets in the cities through peak hour. 

He has to deal with other errant drivers on the road. The process of maneuvering the school bus through traffic jams and road accidents is extremely stressful.

School bus driver’s has to oversee the overall discipline of students on the bus. Student fights, bullying has to be solved promptly. Unruly student behavior is a strain on the driver causing lack of concentration.

Another aspect of strain to the driver is dealing with the parents. Parents having varying requests can be very demanding and irritable handling them is a disturbing process to the drivers.

The drivers very often do not get adequate support in his activities from the school or bus management. The authorities are not receptive to school bus driver grievances. This again makes drivers unhappy and irritable when on duty.

After driving through heavy traffic and handling boisterous young children, the drivers are hardly in a frame of mind to exercise or go for gym activities.

Driving safely, watching out for rogue drivers and controlling their emotions leave them mentally and physically exhausted at the end of the day.

Stress relieving programs for drivers are of prime importance. Exercise and yoga are of help in reducing stress. Schools have to institute mandatory sessions for drivers during their down-time.

Periodic motivation classes, rewarding drivers for their good deeds can help improve morale of the drivers.

The feeling of being looked after makes the drivers more loyal to their job. The feel-good factor makes them cheerful and stress-free while on duty.


This leads to psychological disorders. High levels of stress and anxiety cause insomnia. This makes the drivers lethargic and nervous during their daily operations.

Their inability to concentrate will endanger the safety of the students. Extended periods of insomnia will cause disturbances in the health system causing mental disorders.


Obesity increases the risk of contracting diabetes at a younger age. This increases blood cholesterol levels which increase the risk of a heart attack.

The drivers sit for long periods of times on the bus. Drivers continue sitting between work hours also.Sedentary nature of the job leads the drivers to become over-weight. Stress also leads to obesity.  This makes them high-risk candidates for heart diseases and other serious health issues.

Studies have shown that the drivers are sedentary for more than 12 hours on a normal working day.  Most of the drivers are over-weight. These two factors together rank them as a priority group for health interventions. Lack of exercise leads to reduced levels of cardiovascular fitness.

Raising the levels of physical activity during the bus driver’s off-time is a solution to this serious issue. Increasing the driver’s movement will reduce the risk of potent heart problems.

Alternatively, being over-weight does not necessarily equate to being unhealthy. Over-weight could be a catalyst in raising the risk. Prevention being better than cure it is always better to be active and keep check of the weight.

Walking, jogging, aerobics and bicycling are activities suggested to keep the drivers healthy. They can pursue these activities during their off-time. Short durations of 10-20 minutes of exercise reduce the risk for illnesses and improve health. Free use of the school gym is also recommended to keep fit.

Schools can arrange sports events and challenges to motivate them into action. Bus companies can allow them in their basketball, volleyball, softball teams. They can be encouraged to take part in tournaments and matches.

Read Also: School Bus Driver Safety – How Technology Can Play a Role

Muscular pains

Aches and pains in the back, neck, shoulder and knee are experienced by the drivers due to nature of their job.

The driver’s cabin does not allow for much movement or stretching.Constant use of the leg on brakes and accelerators causes wear and tear of the knee and calf muscles.

Frequent turning of the head, when students board and get off the bus, lead to neck pains. Back-aches are attributed to the stressful, stiff posture the driver holds while on the driver’s seat. Vibrations of the bus and frequent crossing of humps result in lower back pain.

Exercising and stretching while off the bus is the only solution. Ergonomically designed seats help alleviate this problem to an extent.

Food habits

High-calorie diets increase cholesterol levels. Eating junk food causes gastro-intestinal problems. Reduced intake of water causes dehydration.

Poor eating habits of the drivers result in health issues. School bus drivers on early morning trips and late field trips do not find time to have proper healthy meals.

They most often end up having high-calorie donuts and fast food instead of well-balanced meals. The long hours of sedentary off- time tempts them to over eat.

The schools can provide a nutritional healthy pack at least once a day at a low cost or even free. The schools need to arrange periodic health check-ups for the driver. A diet plan can be prescribed for each driver. They can be persuaded to eat regular healthy meals.

Inhalation of diesel exhaust fumes–causes respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.

School buses emit fumes from the exhaust which enters the bus when the doors are opened and closed and through the ventilation systems. Constant exposure to these fumes cause asthma, bronchitis, lung damage and may even turn fatal.

The only way to reduce the emission of fumes is to reduce the idling time of the engines mainly at the school parking area and at the bus-stops. Use of newer buses with cleaner engines will help in reducing the emissions. The best option would be the use of electric buses as they will in total eliminate this risk.

Infectious diseases

Drivers are prone to fall ill due to virus and bacterial infections like the flu, common cold, hepatitis B.

This is mainly contracted through helping sick children on the bus. Using gloves and surgical masks can prevent spreading of the virus.

Wellness programs

The individual driver’s inclination and his desire to use the facilities provided to him is finally the key to his health.Periodic presentations on health and nutrition can create awareness ofthe health problems associated with lack of fitness. The wellness programs should motivate the drivers to make full use of what is offered in improving their health.

Wellness programs instituted have to be low cost and convenient for the drivers to avail them. Swimming pools and gymnasiums in school districts can be made available for their use at a low fee or even for free.

The programs are to be personalized. They should be sensitive to age and the driver’s needs. The programs have to be made voluntary and flexible.

Read Also: Great School Bus Drivers – A Short Guide

The programs have to be recorded and evaluated frequently. Stress management programs have to be incorporated. Informal programs will allow drivers to relax, bond and share their thoughts with their colleagues.

Schools spending on wellness programs for drivers will reap proportionate benefits. There will be less absenteeism. The number of drivers reporting sick without prior information will fall. This will be of great relief to the school as there will be less disruption in the bus schedules.

A level of physical fitness in school bus drivers is imperative. They should be alert, agile and efficient to attend to the needs of the students on the bus, in cases of emergency. Safety being the priority, the driver’s health issues should not impede their ability to drive the big school bus safely.

Winter School Bus Driving Guidelines And Tips

Winter is the most inappropriate time for riding any sort of vehicle rather so a school bus.

For a school bus driver the safety of the students is the most important and riskiest job there is, and to carry it out on a winter surface is harder than normal.

School bus drivers should always be prepared for changing weather conditions, it’s always important to bring along additional weather gear to withstand the winter.

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A few of the winter weather gear might include:

  • Thermals
  • Winter Parka
  • Gloves
  • Extra Socks
  • Winter Boots
  • Rain Slicker
  • Hat or Knit Cap
  • Rags
  • Flashlight
  • Ice Scraper

Anyone who has driven in snow knows that winter driving is difficult especially for heavy vehicle drivers. Driving a school bus in snow requires a special set of skills to ensure the safety of the students.

Here are few tips for school bus drivers on how to safely drive the bus on winter conditions

1.Plan Early

Don’t wait until winter hits you, take counter measures before hand. Weather conditions can go from mild to harsh in an instant so it’s better to be ready for the winter which is eventually coming. Take up safety measures which include

  • Establishing earlier start times and take alternate routes that is much safer from the rash weather
  • Ensure a stable communication channel with the faculty
  • Conduct a manual check-up for the school buses prior to the winter season ensuring that the vehicle is in tact

2. Train the Drivers

Winter road conditions are not at all similar to normal driving conditions, covered by thick snow the roads will be slick and slippery, the driving rules installed by the transportation ministry would not be enough in keeping the school bus safe.

Therefore school bus drivers should go through a specialized winter training course.

  • The driver training should consist of
  • Importance of increasing the following distance from a vehicle
  • The relevance of reducing the speed
  • Importance of slow acceleration, steering, and braking
  • Allowing longer stopping distance

Read Also: Futuristic School Bus Transportation

3. Winterize the School Buses

The school buses should be equipped to counter the winter season prior to the start of the season.

The school bus drivers should understand the limitations of their vehicle and must keep regular maintenance of the school bus.

Here are a few tips school bus drivers should keep in mind while winter proofing the school bus

  • All the batteries should be tested prior to the season
  • Switch to winter tires or assure that all tires have sufficient tread
  • Install antifreeze brake line
  • Introduce new windshield and wipers for the snowy weather
  • Cross check every switches and light to make sure they are functional
  • Introduce anti-fog product on interior glass and to reduce the adhesion of snow and ice use rain repellent material on the outside glasses
  • To provide emergency traction, the school buses at all time during the winter season should contain an oil absorbent or kitty litter

You don’t know what to expect during the harsh weather, sometimes even skilled driving would not be enough. Following are some additional Do’s and Don’ts to keep in mind

  • Be Cautious

Be extra cautious around bus stops, school zones and at bus loading and unloading areas where there exist a huge chance of high snow banks.

  • Slow Down, Don’t hurry

In harsh winter conditions don’t hurry, at these times the safety of the students must come above everything including staying on schedule.

  • Anticipate the road conditions

During winter the roads will be poor and dangerous so it’s better to keep a healthy distance between the vehicles and other objects in front of you, so that you could react to any unwanted instances en-route.

  • Don’t take chances, Drive Safely

In intersections always, be wary of other motorist and if you feel any sort of concern to move forward don’t, sometimes it’s better to take no road at all.

  • Be winter proof

Wear winter hats, boots, and clothing that will keep you warm. Rather than the harsh weather, there should not stand any discomfort for you while driving.

  • Use of Headlights

Countless accidents have occurred because drivers were surprised by a vehicle which they did not see until it was too late.

During inclement weather conditions like rain, sleet, snow, and hail you should turn on your headlights so others can see you.

In fact, any sort of weather condition which causes vision impairment is enough to turn your headlights on while driving.

  • Clear your bus off from Ice

Before you start the vehicle, be sure to wipe out every chunk of snow and ice from the windows, mirrors, headlights and make sure that the vehicle is visible to others.

Under normal driving conditions dealing with traffic, stopping, turning, maintaining the legal speed limit can all be controlled by using good driving techniques.

But when you come up against roads covered with snow and ice the entire dynamic changes.

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In extreme winter circumstances despite the incredible dangers presented by the slick surface, drivers must exercise great caution and practice the above mention tips to ensure the safety of the vehicle and students.

School Bus Drivers Training – 10 Tips For City Driving

Driving a vehicle within the city is not only difficult but also frustrating. When it comes to school buses the problem just gets multiplied. As buses come in lengths of up to 45 feet, maneuvering the big vehicles around the city corners can really be a challenging task.

In the case of school bus drivers, they are responsible for the safety of children on board. As a result, they become stressed, which then diminishes their ability to act effectively in an emergency.

Read Also: 12 Different Technologies that Help School Bus Drivers in Driving

The challenges faced by drivers are largely dependent on the city in which they drive through. However, proper training and following certain strategies can help minimize the probability of problems cropping up when they are on city roads.

1: Plan ahead before turning

As the turning radius of a school bus is more, it is not easy for the vehicle to get into the right lane for a turn in time. It is, therefore, of utmost importance that drivers must be aware of the upcoming turns and position of the vehicle properly ahead of time.

2: Minimize left turns

The drivers of many professional transportation companies are advised to avoid left turns as much as possible. School bus drivers can also follow this advice.

Left turns tend to raise the chances of side-on collisions with other vehicles. Schools that use software for deciding bus routes can include this as a criterion when finalizing routes for the school year.

3: Avoid applying brakes suddenly at signals

Studies show that traffic light cameras tend to increase the incidence of low-damage accidents in cities. Drivers often slam on the brakes in order to avoid jumping the stop signal.

This often results in rear-end as well as other minor collisions. It pays to sensitize school bus drivers to be aware of signal points and apply brakes early so that they don’t ram into the vehicle in front of them.

4: Fix more mirrors

When it comes to driving, blind spots are always a cause of concern. If the school bus drivers happen to notice blind spots in front of the vehicle or through the rear-view mirror, they should request authorities to fix more mirrors. Actually, the advantages of fixing more mirrors far outweigh the costs involved.


5: Make use of in-cab GPS if possible

When it comes to city driving, detours and accidents are part of life. However, school bus drivers should be properly trained to avoid them as much as possible.

In-cab GPS units enable school bus drivers to change their route and avoid encountering dangerous situations when driving within city limits. However, drivers should always keep their eyes fixed on the road and drive slowly when they follow detour signs.

6: Be aware of dangerous road conditions

Drivers must be aware of the road conditions and remain alert so as to avoid accidents. They should reduce the speed of the bus when repairs are being carried out on the routes they drive.

In addition, they must always maintain a safe distance between the bus and other objects on the road. This gives them enough time to respond in unpredictable situations.

7: Be conscious of the traffic signals and road signs

A driver should be conscious of the traffic signals and be conversant with the different road signs. Some of the important traffic signs are U-turns, one way, no horn zones, and prohibited area. If they remain alert when driving on the city, they will be able to avoid major accidents.

8: Examine school buses prior to taking them out

Before taking out the school bus on to the road, drivers must make it a habit to check the vehicle’s status to ensure a safe and comfortable journey for the students. They should carefully check the fuel levels, the condition of the tires and wipers, among other things.

9: Keep track of speeding limits

It is very important drivers must follow the specified speed limits because the safety of the students is at stake. Therefore, it is a good idea to control the speed limit of the school bus by setting the limit that is allowed.

10: Make sure others on the road notice them

School buses have been integrated with flashing lights and turn signals in order to help others on the road to notice them.

School bus drivers should use the right communication signals at the right time to enhance the safety of students, especially when they are boarding or getting down from the bus, the bus is in the parking lot, the weather conditions are bad.

Read Also: Great School Bus Drivers – A Short Guide

Final Thoughts

Student safety should be given top most priority by all school bus drivers. As the increase in the number of students traveling by school buses and the nature and size of these buses pose challenges, the drivers have to assume a great deal of responsibility.

Along with the increase in congestion on the roads, the distractions have also multiplied tremendously.

School bus drivers begin their day by ensuring that the vehicle is in good condition, but they often overlook the most important aspect which is their own feeling of well-being.

Every driver should start their day feeling healthy and well-rested because safe driving on city roads is dependent on alertness and focus.

School Bus Driver Safety – How Technology Can Play a Role

School bus drivers are given the huge responsibility of transporting the children to and from the school safely. Driving a school bus is a very serious job and often thankless. The driver is exposed to many an experience on and off the bus and their safety is of utmost importance.

Nowadays, the school fleets comes fitted with a number of technological aids and this helps them to stay safe as well as do their jobs to the best of their abilities. We review below a list of technologies and gadgets that help them in more than one way.

Read Also: 10 School Bus Safety Tips for Drivers

1: Digital Cameras

Safety enforcement is always a tough job. During most of the trips, on-bus behaviour of the students is a major distraction for the driver. Most drivers trim this problem by assigning seats to the students.

Digital cameras that are installed in modern school fleets help the driver to constantly monitor the situation inside the bus while simultaneously maintaining a watchful eye on the road.

The cameras are also endowed with the capability to record both audio and video of the happenings inside the bus. This spares the driver from having to turn back to find out what exactly happened.

These cameras are also equipped to capture the licence plate details of vehicles that pass close by the bus when it halts.

2: Bus Tracking Systems

Bus tracking systems provide the much-needed transparency that is otherwise required of the bus drivers in reporting where the bus is located at that point in time.

These systems not only work to notify parents and school authorities of the current location of the bus, but they also act to restrict harsh driving behaviours.

Parents monitor both unscheduled bus routes/ bus stops that the drivers may take and also monitor the speed of the bus. This aspect keeps the children and the drivers safe.

Bus tracking apps help to keep away distress calls from the parents that would otherwise be a distraction for the driver. The school bus tracking app helps to provide real-time data as regards approach time of a bus near the scheduled bus stop.

It also helps the driver to do his work with the concentration required to get his wards to the bus stops at the scheduled times.

3: Mirror Grid Systems

The latest school fleets come fixed with a grid of mirrors. This 7-mirror system helps the drivers to have a wide-angle view of the surroundings of the bus.

The electric grids that are present behind the mirrors help the drivers during the cold winters. The heat generated by the grid removes the fog and snow particles that get lodged on the mirror during the winters. It helps to enhance the driver’s surrounding vision.


4: Driver-controlled Bus Doors

The doors of today’s school buses can be controlled by the bus drivers with the touch of a button. The driver’s control in the opening and closing the school bus doors are helpful in more ways than one.

Firstly, the absence of manual operations keeps away unnatural twists and turns of the body and the problems arising thereof. Shoulder pain, arm injuries, and fatigue can be completely avoided. The annual door swings are nil.

5: Air-cushioned Driver Seats

The latest school fleets come with built in driver seats that are kept up with the help of air pressure. This keeps the seat at a comfortable position for the driver and provides enhanced lumbar support that leads to fewer back problems for the drivers in the long run.

6: Smaller Bus Engines

As a direct consequence of miniaturization that is taking place in all fields, bus engines are now smaller in size. The smaller size of the engine means a smaller hood. This improves the field of vision of the driver and enables him to see more of the surroundings.

7: Computerized Diagnostic Tools

Computerized diagnostic tools that inform the driver well in advance about the upcoming maintenance jobs of the vehicle are a boon to the drivers.

Wear-out of tires, replacement of non-working indicator lights, and other maintenance jobs, if informed to the driver in advance helps them to keep the children and their job safe.

Other issues that can give the drivers a feeling of preparedness include indications about transmission problems, oil tanks and their malfunction, exhaust systems’ alarms, etc.

8: Wi-Fi Connectivity

Wi-Fi connectivity in the bus can keep children engaged with the Internet and allow them to complete their lessons, homework or indulge in other intellectually gainful activities.

This keeps them from engaging in unruly behaviour which can distract the drivers and keep them from performing their duties.

Read Also: School Bus Safety Precautions a Bus Driver should Take

9: Sensors

Installation of sensors in wireless devices will inform the drivers about the current status of brakes and emergency door systems. This prevents impending disasters.

Final Thoughts

Though skilled and careful driving is still the best preventative method to keep the kids safe during their ride on the school bus, technological aids, in the recent times have helped the drivers prevent many an accident.

Therefore it is important to install these technological gadgets and systems to make the school bus ride much safer than before.