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Section 4-B: School Bus Endorsement

A CDL holder wanting a School Bus Endorsement - an endorsement to drive a yellow school bus designed to seat 16 or more persons, including the driver - must first pass the knowledge exam based on Sections 2 and 4 of this manual. (If your bus has air brakes, you also must pass the air brake exam based on Section 5.) You must pass the skills and driving exams in the school bus of the license class for which you are applying.

The school bus endorsement is required when transporting pre-primary, primary or secondary school students from home to school, from school to home, or to and from school sponsored events.

CDL school bus drivers cannot legally operate a yellow school bus if they do not have the (S) School Bus Endorsement.

Requirements

A driver must:

  • Be age 21 or older.
  • Possess a valid and properly classified driverʼs license issued by the Secretary of State.
  • Possess a current medical card when required.
  • Successfully pass a written school bus endorsement exam administered by the Secretary of State.
  • Successfully pass a driving test, if applicable, in a representative vehicle of the license class for passenger and school bus endorsements.
  • Not have been repeatedly involved as a driver in motor vehicle accidents or repeatedly convicted of traffic offenses, which indicates disrespect for traffic laws.

Safety Information

Pre-trip inspection:

Each day that a school bus is operated the driver must conduct a pre-trip inspection of the mechanical and safety equipment on the bus. A person other than the driver may perform the pre-trip inspection as prescribed by administrative rule. The driver is required to complete a School Bus Driverʼs Pre-Trip Inspection form each time an inspection is performed. Any defects found on the bus must be recorded on the form.

Speed limits:

The legal speed limit for a school bus is the same as that for an automobile. However, because of the size and weight of a school bus, it requires a greater stopping distance than a regular passenger vehicle. Adjust your speed for the time of day, weather and road conditions.

Entering or exiting the expressway:

When entering or exiting an expressway, do so as quickly and as safely as possible. Unless absolutely necessary, never bring your vehicle to a complete stop immediately before entering any high-speed expressway. Enter and merge as safely as possible with the flow of traffic.

Get them there safely:

Proper use of safety devices on the school bus will help you control traffic when stopped to load and unload students.

  • The amber lights of the 8-lamp flashing signal system must be activated when approaching a stop at least:
    • 100 feet within an urban area.
    • 200 feet outside an urban area
  • When loading or unloading passengers, come to a complete stop, put the transmission in the “neutral park” position, and set the parking brake.
  • No child may cross any highway with four or more lanes of traffic where at least one or more lanes travel in the opposite direction. The school bus stop must be situated so that the studentʼs residence and/or school (attendance center) is on the right side of the highway.
  • The driver must let students off the school bus only at their assigned stops. While this practice is designed to provide the highest level of protection for you and your passengers, restricting additional stops also will save fuel. Do not change routes or pick-ups without authorization from the proper school official.
  • The service door must be closed at all times when the bus is in motion.
  • The emergency door must be unlocked (if lock-equipped) but securely latched when the school bus is in operation.
  • The manufacturerʼs capacity for a bus must not be exceeded.
  • Students may not be asked to leave the bus along the route for breach of discipline, nor may they be asked to sit anywhere other than a seat for breach of discipline.
  • The driver may not back a bus at the school while students are in the vicinity unless a responsible person is present to guide the bus driver.
  • When unloading at school, the bus may be driven onto the school grounds to discharge pupils, or they should be discharged so they will not have to cross a street. At all discharge points where it is necessary for pupils to cross a roadway, the driver must direct students to walk at least 10 feet in front of the bus on the shoulder of the highway and to remain there until a signal is given by the bus driver for the student to cross.
  • The driver must not allow a student to get off the bus at any place other than the studentʼs designated discharge point unless written permission is granted by the proper school official.
  • The driver must stop between 15 and 50 feet of the first rail of a railroad crossing. While stopped put the transmission in the “neutral park” position and set the parking brake. The driver must open the service door and driverʼs window, listen and look in both directions for any approaching train. When the driver determines that no train is approaching, he/she must close the door and proceed completely across the grade crossing in low gear.
  • The driverʼs safety belt must always be properly fastened before putting the bus in motion.
  • After parking the bus for the day, the driver and/or monitor must walk through the bus to ensure that no child is left behind.

Figure 4-B-1
Railroad Crossing Signs

Test Your Knowledge

  • Does it matter where you make a disruptive passenger get off the bus?
  • How far from a railroad crossing should you stop?
  • When must you stop before crossing a drawbridge?
  • Describe the “prohibited practices.”
  • The rear door of a transit bus has to be open to put on the parking brake. True or False?

Study sections 4.3, 4-A, and 4-B if you can't answer all of these questions.

Remember: In order to drive a yellow school bus designed to carry 16 passengers or more, including the driver, you must have a school bus endorsement. This will very likely show up on the written exam.
As the driver of a school bus, it is your responsibility to make sure a daily inspection takes place. Whether you perform the inspection or someone else does, an inspection must be performed each day.
This is only for states which mandate the use of amber lights on school busses. Check your states specific regulations regarding the use of amber lights by checking your state specific CDL manual.
It would be a good idea to memorize this. You need to be familiar with all rules and regulations regarding how, where, and when to let passengers off the bus.
If asked on the written exam, only school officials may authorize a route change.
Remember: Exiting passengers should be instructed to walk at least 10 feet in front of the bus and only cross after you give them the signal to do so.
You need to memorize this entire bullet point. Pay particular attention to the distance you must stop from the railroad crossing (15 to 50 feet).

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

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.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

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

What is a School Bus Endorsement?
  • An endorsement to drive a bus of school children to any location other than a public learning center
  • An endorsement to drive a yellow school bus designed to seat 16 or more persons, including the driver
  • An endorsement required to carry more than 10 passengers under the age of 12
  • An endorsement to drive school children in any vehicle for the sake of financial compensation

Quote From The CDL Manual:

A CDL holder wanting a School Bus Endorsement - An endorsement to drive a yellow school bus designed to seat 16 or more persons, including the driver - must first pass the knowledge exam (If your bus has air brakes, you also must pass the air brake exam). You must pass the skills and driving exams in the school bus of the license class for which you are applying.

The school bus endorsement is required when transporting pre-primary, primary or secondary school students from home to school, from school to home, or to and from school sponsored events.


CDL school bus drivers cannot legally operate a yellow school bus if they do not have the (S) School Bus Endorsement.

Next
What is the special speed limit for school buses?
  • School buses must go 10mph under the posted speed limit
  • School buses have the same speed limit as other automobiles
  • School buses are restricted to 20mph on all residential streets
  • School buses are prohibited from exceeding 55mph

Quote From The CDL Manual:

The legal speed limit for a school bus is the same as that for an automobile. However, because of the size and weight of a school bus, it requires a greater stopping distance than a regular passenger vehicle. Adjust your speed for the time of day, weather and road conditions.

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