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4.3 On The Road

Passenger Supervision

Many charter and inter-city carriers have passenger comfort and safety rules. Mention rules about smoking, drinking or use of cell phones and other electronic devices at the start of the trip. Explaining the rules at the start will help to avoid trouble later on.

While driving, scan the interior of your bus as well as the road ahead, to the sides, and to the rear. You may have to remind riders about rules or to keep arms and heads inside the bus.

At Stops

Riders can stumble when getting on or off and when the bus starts or stops. Caution riders to watch their step when leaving the bus. Wait for them to sit down or brace themselves before starting. Starting and stopping should be as smooth as possible to avoid rider injury.

Occasionally, you may have a drunk or disruptive rider. You must ensure this riderʼs safety as well as that of others. Do not discharge such riders where it would be unsafe for them. It may be safer at the next scheduled stop or a well lit area where there are other people. Many carriers have guidelines for handling disruptive riders.

Common Accidents

Bus accidents often happen at intersections. Use caution, even if a signal or stop sign controls other traffic. School and mass transit buses sometimes scrape off mirrors or hit passing vehicles when pulling out from a bus stop. Remember the clearance your bus needs, and watch for poles and tree limbs at stops. Know the size of the gap your bus needs to accelerate and merge with traffic. Wait for the gap to open before leaving the stop. Never assume other drivers will brake to give you room when you signal or start to pull out.

Speed on Curves

Accidents on curves that kill people and destroy buses result from excessive speed, often when rain or snow has made the road slippery. Every banked curve has a safe “design speed.” In good weather, the posted speed is safe for cars, but it may be too high for many buses. With good traction, the bus may roll over; with poor traction, it might slide off the curve. Reduce speed for curves. If your bus leans toward the outside on a banked curve, you are driving too fast.

Railroad Crossings

Bus drivers are required to stop between 15 and 50 feet before railroad crossings. Listen and look in both directions for trains. You must lower the window and/or open the forward door to improve your ability to see or hear an approaching train. Then close the door prior to moving. Before crossing after a train has passed, make sure there is not another train coming in the other direction on other tracks. If your bus has a manual transmission, never change gears while crossing the tracks. (See Figure 4-2).

Figure 4-2
Railroad Crossing Signs

You do not have to stop, but you must slow down and carefully check for other vehicles:

  • At street car crossings.
  • At railroad tracks used only for industrial switching within a business district.
  • Where a policeman or flagman is directing traffic.
  • If a traffic signal shows green.
  • At crossings marked “exempt” or “abandoned.

Drawbridges

Bus drivers are required to stop at drawbridges that do not have a signal light or traffic control attendant. Stop at least 50 feet before the draw of the bridge. Look to make sure the draw is completely closed before crossing.

You do not need to stop, but you must slow down and make sure it is safe when:

  • There is a traffic light showing green.
  • The bridge has an attendant or traffic officer that controls traffic whenever the bridge opens.

4.4 After-Trip Vehicle Inspection

Inspect your bus at the end of each shift. If you work for an interstate carrier, you must complete a written inspection report for each bus driven. The report must specify each bus and list any defect that would affect safety or result in a breakdown. If there are no defects, the report should say so.

Riders sometimes damage safety-related parts such as hand-holds, seats, emergency exits and windows. If you report this damage at the end of a shift, mechanics can make repairs before the bus goes out again. Mass transit drivers should also make sure passenger signaling devices and brake-door interlocks work properly.

4.5 Prohibited Practices

  • Avoid fueling your bus with riders on board unless absolutely necessary. Never refuel in a closed building with riders on board.
  • Do not talk with riders or engage in any other distracting activity while driving.
  • Do not tow or push a disabled bus with riders aboard either vehicle, unless getting off the bus would be unsafe. Only tow or push the bus to the nearest safe spot to discharge passengers. Follow your employerʼs guidelines on towing or pushing disabled buses.

4.6 Brake-Door Interlocks

Urban mass transit coaches may have a brake and accelerator interlock system. The interlock applies the brakes and holds the throttle in idle position when the rear door is open. The interlock releases when you close the rear door. Do not use this safety feature in place of the parking brake.

Remember: All passengers must be let off the bus in safe areas, including drunk or disruptive passengers. This may show up on your written exam.
This is extremely important to memorize and will very likely show up on the written exam. You should definitely memorize that busses are required to stop between 15 and 50 feet from a railroad crossing.
Stopping at a draw bridge is different than stopping at a railroad crossing. You must stop at least 50 feet from the draw bridge (unless it is controlled by a traffic signal or traffic control attendant). For railroad crossings, you must stop 15 to 50 feet from the crossing. These could both show up on your written exam.
Remember, every bus you drive in a given day needs to be inspected and interstate carrier operations are required to complete a written report daily.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Review Questions - Click On The Picture To Begin...

Bus drivers are required to stop at railroad crossings. At what distance should they stop from the crossing?
  • Between 15 and 50 feet
  • Between 25 and 75 feet
  • Between 10 and 20 feet
  • Between 5 and 25 feet

Quote From The CDL Manual:

Bus drivers are required to stop between 15 and 50 feet before railroad crossings. Listen and look in both directions for trains. You must lower the window and/or open the forward door to improve your ability to see or hear an approaching train. Then close the door prior to moving.

Before crossing after a train has passed, make sure there is not another train coming in the other direction on other tracks. If your bus has a manual transmission, never change gears while crossing the tracks.

You do not have to stop, but you must slow down and carefully check for other vehicles:

  • At street car crossings.
  • At railroad tracks used only for industrial switching within a business district.
  • Where a policeman or flagman is directing traffic.
  • If a traffic signal shows green.
  • At crossings marked "exempt" or "abandoned."

TruckingTruth's Advice:

These same rules apply when carrying hazardous materials

Next
When a railroad crossing is marked "exempt" or "abandoned" bus drivers should:
  • Open the passenger door to listen for oncoming trains, but do not stop
  • Ignore all railroad crossing procedures
  • Buses are required to stop at all railroad crossings, including those marked exempt or abandoned
  • Slow down and carefully check for other vehicles

Quote From The CDL Manual:

You do not have to stop, but you must slow down and carefully check for other vehicles:

  • At street car crossings.
  • At railroad tracks used only for industrial switching within a business district.
  • Where a policeman or flagman is directing traffic.
  • If a traffic signal shows green.
  • At crossings marked "exempt" or "abandoned."

TruckingTruth's Advice:

These same rules about railroad crossings apply for hazardous material loads as well.

Prev
Next
Bus drivers are required to stop at all drawbridges which do not have a signal light or traffic control attendant. How far away must the driver stop before the draw bridge?
  • At least 75 feet
  • At least 50 feet
  • At least 25 feet
  • At least 100 feet

Quote From The CDL Manual:

Bus drivers are required to stop at drawbridges that do not have a signal light or traffic control attendant. Stop at least 50 feet before the draw of the bridge. Look to make sure the draw is completely closed before crossing. You do not need to stop, but you must slow down and make sure it is safe when:

  • There is a traffic light showing green.
  • The bridge has an attendant or traffic officer that controls traffic whenever the bridge opens.
Prev
Next
Which of the following statements is FALSE:
  • Do not tow or push a disabled bus with riders aboard either vehicle, unless getting off the bus would be unsafe
  • Do not talk with riders or engage in any other distracting activity while driving
  • A bus is not allowed to transport intoxicated passengers
  • Avoid fueling your bus with riders on board unless absolutely necessary. Never refuel in a closed building with riders on board.

Quote From The CDL Manual:

Prohibited Practices:

  • Avoid fueling your bus with riders on board unless absolutely necessary. Never refuel in a closed building with riders on board.
  • Do not talk with riders or engage in any other distracting activity while driving.
  • Do not tow or push a disabled bus with riders aboard either vehicle, unless getting off the bus would be unsafe. Only tow or push the bus to the nearest safe spot to discharge passengers. Follow your employer's guidelines on towing or pushing disabled buses.
Prev
Finish
Please select an option
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