When most people think of a school bus driver, they assume his or her sole responsibility is to safely transport children to and from school. While that is the core task of the driver, other responsibilities are often included. The exact scope of those tasks will vary, depending on the school district in question, but will often include such factors as record keeping, inspection, and some general maintenance to the bus itself.
In order to work as a school bus driver, an individual must have more than a valid driver’s license. Background checks are common in most school jurisdictions, with issues such as various infractions of the law or even a history of poor credit eliminating some candidates. A clean driving record is a must in many school districts. Driver training involving large vehicles is also necessary before gaining employment as a driver for any school jurisdiction. In addition, some districts conduct training sessions to help successful candidates learn how to properly deal with unruly students, as well as other common issues that are likely to occur from time to time.
Along with transporting students, a school bus driver is responsible for keeping several types of records. Some of these have to do with the mileage of the vehicle. The driver may be responsible for recording odometer readings at key intervals during the course of the day. This may include recording the reading upon delivering the students to the school, and upon returning the vehicle to the school property after transporting the children home. If the bus route involves stops at several schools within the district, the driver is often charged with recording mileage at each stop.
Just as a teacher is responsible for maintaining records of disciplinary issues, a school bus driver is also responsible for accurately reporting any disturbances or violations of school regulations that occur during the transport of students to and from the school. Those documents are submitted to the school officer designated to receive them, such as the principal or vice principal. The records will contain a description of the disturbance, the names of the participants, and any actions taken by the bus driver to restore order to the bus.
In many school jurisdictions, a school bus driver makes routine checks of some of the basic features of the bus and its equipment. For example, the driver may periodically inspect the condition of the tires for signs of wear, or test the heating and cooling system to make sure it is functioning properly. Any elements that require repair or inspection by a mechanic are also noted by the school bus driver, and reported to the proper school authority.
Since the safety of the students is of primary importance to a school bus driver, there are some jurisdictions in which the driver will actually escort smaller children across roads and streets. The typical driver will also be well-versed in basic first aid, and trained in using the onboard communications system to seek immediate medical attention if a child becomes seriously ill or injured while on the bus. While a driver is not expected to have the same level of expertise as an emergency medical technician, he or she is expected to be capable of managing minor situations and reporting the event and treatment to the school nurse upon arriving at the school.