School Bus Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is it hard to drive a school bus?
  2. How many students can you put on a school bus?
  3. Are there different size school busses?
  4. Who can drive a school bus?
  5. How early do you start work?
  6. Aren't I just as safe in my parents car?

Is it hard to drive a school bus?

That depends on your definition of hard. Keep in mind the average automobile is only about 5 foot wide and weights between 2,000 and 3,000 pounds. The average school bus is 8 foot wide (not counting mirrors), 40 foot long and weights at least 20,000 pounds. Probably the most difficult part is wheel location. When you are driving a car, your front wheels are about 3 foot in front of you, and your rear wheels are about 4 foot behind you. In a school bus, the front wheels are 3 foot behind you, and your rear wheels are about 30 feet behind you. The only way I can think of describing it, is try driving your car while sitting out on the front bumper. And your trying to do this with up to 90 children behind you.

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How many students can you put on a school bus?

At the front of every school bus there is a CHP inspection certificate, this certificate tells the maximum number of passenger, that particular school bus is designed to transport. At no time! will any bus driver ever! allow more students on the bus than the CHP inspection certificate states.

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Are there different size school busses?

Yes, not counting special education vans, we currently have 5 different sizes of school busses. The sizes are 72, 78, 84, 89 and 90 passenger, the majority of our busses are 78 passenger.

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Who can drive a school bus?

Anyone can drive a school bus as long as they have the required certificates. The first one is a minimum of a class 'B' California commercial drivers license with a passenger endorsement. Next is a 'California Special Driver Certificate' also known as a school bus drivers license that is issued by the CHP. A school bus driver must also have a 'Medical Examiners Certificate' that is given by a doctor stating that it is save for this driver to drive a commercial vehicle. A school bus driver must have all these certificates, in there possession to drive the bus.

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How early do you start work?

That depends on the particular route the driver is doing. Basically, a driver usually clocks in 45 minutes to an hour before the pick-up time of the first stop of the first school in the morning. The reason for this is, before a driver can drive a bus, they must do a 'Pre-trip Inspection'. For a transit school bus this takes 30 minutes to complete. This is just some of the items that get checked by a school bus driver every morning, fluid levels, lights (inside and out), horns, seats, windows, doors, heating, ventilation, tires, emergency equipment, and a thorough test of the braking system.

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Aren't I just as safe in my parents car?

NO! According to the National Safety Council in 1996, Yellow School buses are:

There are 48 million school children in the United States. Half of them ride school buses and on average there are ten occupant fatalities a year. The other half get to school some other way and 600 of them lose their lives every year as a result.

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