Be Prepared and Plan Ahead. When possible, assign two responsible, older student assistants to each emergency exit. Teach them how to assist the other students off the bus. Assign another student assistant to lead the students to a “safe place” after evacuation. However, you must recognize that there may not be older, responsible students on the bus at the time of the emergency. Therefore, emergency evacuation procedures must be explained to all students. This includes knowing how to operate the various emergency exits and the importance of listening to and following all instructions given by you.
Bring the school bus to a full stop with the front bumper at least 10 feet away from students at the designated stop. This forces the students to walk to the bus so you have a better view of their movements.
Place transmission in “Park” (if there is no “Park” shift point, place in “Neutral” and set the parking brake at each stop.
Activate alternating red lights when traffic is a safe distance from the school bus and ensure stop arm is extended.
Make a final check to see that all traffic has stopped before completely opening the door and signaling students to approach.
Some tips to determine a safe place to lead students during an emergency:
A safe place will be at least 100 feet off the road in the direction of oncoming traffic. This will keep the students from being hit by debris if another vehicle collides with the bus.
Lead students upwind of the bus if a fire is present.
Lead students as far away from railroad tracks as possible and in the direction of any oncoming train.
Lead students upwind of the bus at least 300 feet if there is a risk from spilled hazardous materials.
If the bus is in the direct path of a sighted tornado and evacuation is ordered, escort students to a nearby ditch or culvert if shelter in a building is not readily available and direct them to lie face down, hands covering their head. They should be far enough away so the bus cannot topple on them. Avoid areas that are subject to flash floods.
As a general rule, student safety and control are best maintained by keeping students on the bus during an emergency and/or impending crisis, if so doing does not expose them to unnecessary risk or injury
The School Bus CDL Exam is required if you want to get a school bus or charter bus endorsement. It is not required for getting a Class A CDL to drive a big rig. Bus drivers must have a commercial driver's license if they drive a vehicle designed to seat 16 or more persons, including the driver.
Bus drivers must have a passenger endorsement on their commercial driver license. To obtain the endorsement, you must pass a knowledge test on the Safe Driving and =convertURLCategoryName($category, "display");?> (this section) portions of the CDL manual. If your bus has air brakes, you must also pass a knowledge test on air brakes. You must also pass the skills/drive tests required for the class and type of passenger vehicle you plan to drive.
This section covers:
On the Road
After-trip Vehicle Inspection
Use of Brake-door Interlocks
Before driving your bus, make sure it is safe. You must review the inspection report made by the previous driver. Only if defects reported earlier have been certified as repaired or not needed to be repaired, should you sign the previous driver's report. This is your certification that the defects reported earlier have been repaired.
Make sure the following are in good working order before driving:
Service brakes, including air hose couplings (if your bus has a trailer or semitrailer).
Lights and reflectors.
Tires (front wheels must not have re-capped or re-grooved tires).
Windshield wiper or wipers.
Rear-vision mirror or mirrors.
Coupling devices (if present).
Wheels and rims.
Loading And Trip Start
Do not allow riders to leave carry-on baggage in a doorway or aisle. There should be nothing in the aisle that might trip other riders. Secure baggage and freight in ways that avoid damage and:
Allow the driver to move freely and easily.
Allow riders to exit by any window or door in an emergency.
Protect riders from injury if carry-ons fall or shift.
Forbidden Hazardous Materials
Buses may carry small-arms ammunition labeled ORM-D, emergency hospital supplies and drugs. You can carry small amounts of some other hazardous materials if the shipper cannot send them any other way. Buses must never carry:
Explosives in the space occupied by people, except small-arms ammunition.
Labeled radioactive materials in the space occupied by people.
More than 500 pounds total of allowed hazardous materials and no more than 100 pounds of any one class.
Riders sometimes board a bus with an unlabeled hazardous material. Do not allow riders to carry on common hazards such as car batteries or gasoline. See Section 2 and Section 9 for additional information on hazardous materials.
Common Bus Accidents
Accidents In Intersections:
The Most Common Bus 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 In Curves
Accidents on curves 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.
Bus drivers must stop at railroad crossings:
Stop your bus between 15 and 50 feet before railroad crossings.
Listen and look in both directions for trains. You should open your forward door if it improves your ability to see or hear an approaching train.
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 must slow down and carefully check for other vehicles:
- At streetcar crossings.
- Where a policeman or flagman is directing traffic.
- If a traffic signal is green.
- At crossings marked as "exempt" or "abandoned.
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 the vehicle, unless getting off 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.
Questions You Should Know For The =convertURLCategoryName($category, "display");?> Exam
1. Name some things to check in the interior of a bus during a pre-trip inspection.
2. What are some hazardous materials you can transport by bus?
3. What are some hazardous materials you cannot transport by bus?
4. What is a standee line?
5. Does it matter where you make a disruptive passenger get off the bus?
6. How far from a railroad crossing should you stop?
7. When must you stop before crossing a drawbridge?
8. Describe from memory the “prohibited practices” listed in the manual.
9. The rear door of a transit bus has to be open to put on the parking brake. True or False?
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