Five School Bus Driver Tips for Safe Trips

Model 1 | February 21, 2020

A fleet of yellow school buses parked in a line.

School bus drivers are the unsung heroes that form an essential part of the education system. Between field trips and daily commutes, it takes a great amount of patience, skill, and dedication to ensure the safety of the next generation. Many students count on their friendly neighborhood school bus drivers to get the education they need. Choosing to become part of this workforce provides a great service to society. But it’s also challenging considering that these vehicles are long and driving conditions are not always ideal. Model 1 Commercial Vehicles has provided some tips to help first-time school bus drivers get their feet wet.

Stay Up-To-Date on the Latest School Bus Developments

Daily school commutes will acquaint school bus drivers with expected school bus behavior. When a school bus starts malfunctioning, school bus drivers are expected to make minor school bus repairs such as changing tires. But as their unofficial office, school bus drivers will want to keep transportation managers updated on more serious repairs if needed. As school bus drivers provide valuable input about their buses and pioneering children’s safety staying up-to-date on the latest school bus developments is paramount to ensure you can recommend units that are leading-edge in safety. Newer school buses have recently incorporated driver-assistance technology. IC Bus is an American bus manufacturer headquartered in Lisle, Illinois and their company has made driver-assistance technology standard.

Test Your Child-Checkmate System Routinely

Many school bus fleets implement the Child Check-Mate system as an additional fail-safe to help school bus drivers check school seats for children who have been left behind. Though the device aids in preventing child casualties, it is necessary for school drivers to routinely inspect the operation of the device. If a school bus has been transferred from another location, it is especially important to test for a non-functioning device.


If your school bus, MFSAB, or daycare bus is in need of a Child Check-Mate System, contact Model 1 Commercial Vehicles. Our parts department is fully stocked with school bus parts and accessories designed to keep students safe and school buses fully operational.

Stay Up-To-Date on Required Driver Education Classes

The first step for school bus drivers is signing up for a skills course to learn the ins and outs of driving a school bus. Much like a Driver’s Ed class, these courses come with instructional periods in the classroom, as well as time behind the wheel. Lessons will include information on safe driving practices, first aid, emergency expectations, maintenance, and everything else needed to become a well-informed school bus driver. Even if you’ve never driven a bus or public transit vehicle of any kind, there are courses available that can help you start from scratch. Many state programs will require all prospective drivers to take a bus driving course to be eligible for hire by school districts.

Get Licensed

There are a couple of steps to getting all legal ducks in a row. Firstly, you’ll need a CDL or commercial driver’s license. On top of that, all prospective school bus drivers need two other endorsements—a school bus endorsement and a passenger endorsement. At the very least, all three steps in certification will come with their own written skills portion, and school bus drivers will need to pass a driving skills test. Only then will you legally be able to operate a school bus.

Perform Routine Maintenance Inspections

Regular school bus inspections are thorough and need to be performed before and after every use. Rest assured, there are plenty of opportunities to get used to this process. Regular bus inspections will help prevent the bus from breaking down in the middle of a trip and leaving children stranded or in danger.

Dealing with Noise

It’s no secret: a bus full of children can get noisy and you need to be able to hear hazards such as trains and other common road occurrences like emergency vehicles. Inform children or other passengers to keep voices down especially during times when they’ll need to be extra quiet such as when approaching train tracks. Don’t hesitate to tell them when the noise levels have gotten too loud. Don’t forget that prolonged exposure to high decibel levels can cause long-term hearing damage, and while as a bus driver it’s easy to prioritize children’s safety, it’s equally important to protect your health and happiness as well.

Model 1 is the nation’s largest bus dealer, offering a wide range of school buses for sale, so if you manage a fleet, then ask us about the models we have available right now.

Working as a school bus driver provides the kind of personal satisfaction that only a public servant position can give.