There are an estimated 210,000 school bus drivers in the United States that service over 100,000 K-12 schools throughout the country. California has over 10,000 public schools and 24,000 buses that transport over 1 million students every day throughout the school year. 

As a parent or guardian of a child, you might be wondering about the qualifications of the person that is responsible to get your little one to school safely every day. You might also be wondering about the training and testing they undergo to get in the position of school bus driver.

Requirements By Law

Although some requirements differ from state to state, or even county to county within each state, there are some basic legal requirements for the position that all bus drivers must meet across the entire state of California.

In order to become a school bus driver, a person must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED equivalent. They must also have a thorough medical exam that proves they’re in good physical condition from seizures, epilepsy, and untreated high blood pressure and diabetes.

In addition, school bus drivers must have a valid driver’s license, clean criminal record, fingerprint clearance from the Department of Justice, and a clean drug test free of alcohol and controlled substances.

Commercial Driver’s License

Once a person meets all the legal requirements, he or she may apply for a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). Drivers must get an S Endorsement on their driver’s license, which allows them to professionally drive a school bus. First they must have a P endorsement, which allows one to drive a large passenger vehicle.  

Professional School Bus Training

Applicants apply directly to the school to get hired, but educational materials and training is regulated by the California Department of Education. California’s school bus driver training program is among the best in the entire nation.

Potential bus drivers must undergo a minimum of 20 hours in a classroom setting and an additional 20 hours of hands-on driving time, learning laws, rules, regulations, and how to conduct inspections and vehicle checks in order to maintain the highest safety standards.

School buses are designed with safety in mind. They are highly visible due to the size and the color, as well as having flashing lights and stop-sign arms. Most importantly, the drivers must meet a standard in order to maintain control of the vehicle and keep their passengers safe at all times.

However this doesn’t prevent all accidents from happening. If you’ve been in an accident with a school bus, it’s in your best interest to contact an auto accident lawyer in the Bay Area. They can help you better understand the legality of the situation, whether you’re seeking compensation or building a defense.