A Short Course On Driver Training
“Pairing a well-trained driver with
a well-built school bus makes students
riding school buses eight times safer than
student traveling to and from schools by
other means,” says Kathleen Furneaux,
executive director of the Pupil Transportation
What training produces a well-trained
Since school districts train their own
drivers, there are thousands of variations
on driver training. Furneaux can describe
a basic program used by school districts in
New York State.
“It starts off with 20 to 40 hours of
training behind-the-wheel,” she says. “This
is where a prospective driver learns the
basics of physically driving the bus.
“Next drivers take a road test at the
Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Those
that pass undergo a physical performance
test, a medical-physical examination and
federal and state background checks.”
And that’s not nearly all.
Furneaux continues, saying that the
prospective drivers next receive six hours
of pre-service training. “This gets into the
specifics of driving a school bus,” she says.
The road test includes a written test on
passenger transportation plus questions
about driving a school bus.
Drivers that make it this far receive a
listing on the state’s school bus roster of
drivers, which is registered with the DMV.
They receive a license with a passenger endorsement
and a school bus endorsement.
After pre-service training, drivers
can begin to work. Within the first year,
however, another 40 hours of training is
mandated by the state.
That’s still not it. “From that point
forward, drivers must take four hours of
training every year.”
Then they are school bus drivers.
This article originally appeared in the April 2016 issue of School Planning & Management.