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Exactly How Qualified Are School Bus Drivers?

Driving a school bus is a responsibility not to be taken lightly. Whoever operates the bus is accountable for the safety of sometimes dozens of children in a large vehicle, without any seatbelts to boot. So, just how qualified are these individuals who drive our kids to and from school every day?

Vision Checks

As with any driving qualification, the most important aspect is ensuring the driver has good vision. The minimum requirement for operating a school bus is 20/40 vision. What does this mean? The normal sight range is 20/20, so 20/40 means that the individual can see an object from 20 feet away that an average person would see from 40 feet away. That means they must be twice as close to an object to notice it; that doesn’t exactly sound safe for someone operating a vehicle.

What needs to be taken into consideration, however, is that these measurements are usually in regards to reading letters on a chart. When on the road, cars and pedestrians are harder to miss than a blurry letter in the eye doctor’s office.

Drug & Background Checks

In addition to how far they can see, they must also not be colorblind, take a hearing test, and be in good physical health. Drivers, as with any other job, undergo a drug test and background check as well as a test for a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) in order to be permitted to drive the school bus itself, with or without children in it. The school bus driver must be at least 21, have a clean driving record, and be able to speak English for communication purposes.

Personality Checks

Potential drivers also undergo interviews with the administrators of the school to get a good feel for their demeanor and how they may act around minors. Many school bus drivers work on the campus during the day. Since driving a bus is only required before and after school, it allows school faculty to take on this job for either extra money or ease of employment by the school system. Regardless, this ensures that the man or woman operating the bus is someone who is already known and trusted by the adults and children alike.

It can be worrisome to trust your child to the driving ability of a stranger, but between the qualifications they must meet and the rigidity of a large school bus, there is little reason to worry about these trained professionals.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.

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