By Haley K.
You may think that our bus drivers have it easy, I mean all they have to do is pick kids up and drop them off right? Wrong! First of all, to even become a bus driver you have to take a written test which includes information on common knowledge, air breaks, and passengers. After passing that portion you have to go over the bus, which means remembering every part of the bus, as well as, doing an air break test in under 30 minutes. To even begin this process, they must pass a drug test, take a physical, and have a clean driving record.
Now that you know it’s not a cakewalk to just become a bus driver, let’s get more specific about the things they have to do other than just pick kids up and drop them off. When kids get on the bus, you are required to greet every child in the morning. Not only are you responsible for keeping these children safe while they’re on your bus, but you have to pay attention to their health, you have to look for possible signs of abuse on these children, and if anything is seen it must be reported to the school or authorities. You also aren’t allowed to go over 20 mph in a school zone, regardless of if there is school or not, and you can’t take your bus more than 100 miles out of state. All of this, and so much more, is what our bus drivers have to do and the rules they must follow on an almost daily basis. This isn’t all drivers have to/can do. They may drive for basketball games, pep buses, activity buses, or take kids on field trips, all of which they would be paid for.
Some other things you might be wondering are, “well what do bus drivers do when they break down?” or “what happens if there is a fight on the bus?” Well I can answer both of those questions for you. If a bus breaks down they should radio for help and set up their reflector triangles to signal other drivers that you are there so they can avoid hitting the bus. They also have to keep the kids on the bus at all times unless there is a gas leak or something dangerous on the bus such as smoke, the bus being in an unsafe position, or if it’s possible for the bus to roll or move out of the control of the bus driver. If leaving the bus is necessary, then the driver will find a safe location and guide all the children there. Now for the question you’re actually curious about, what can a bus driver do if there is a fight? The answer would be, honestly not much. They can try to separate the kids, but they aren’t allowed to hit or push the kids – they can just back them into a seat and separate them from the other kids, or vise versa.
Now that you know bus driving isn’t as easy as it looks, next time you see your own bus driver thank them for everything they’ve done.