Bus Drivers Must Undergo Extensive Training in TN School Systems
Because school bus drivers have dozens of lives in their hands every day, all school systems in Tennessee require that they complete extensive training and licensing programs before they’re eligible to be hired or get behind the wheel.
Per a report by WKRN.com, bus drivers in Wilson County operate 180 buses that travel on 140 routes daily. To apply for a job as a bus driver, applicants must be at least 21 years old.
In addition, they must pass the testing required to receive a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). Once they have the license, they must undergo 30 hours of classroom training. Then they are finger printed and must undergo a background check.
During the training phase, new drivers work with experienced drivers for 30 hours. A spokesperson for Wilson County Schools says that while the school system hired around 20 bus drivers in the past year, around 70 applicants were turned down.
A spokesperson for Metro Nashville Schools says that its drivers go through an intensive training course that lasts between four and six weeks before they can hit the road.
In addition to requiring that all drivers undergo extensive training, they also must take part in daily inspections of their buses and complete thorough safety and maintenance checklists before and after picking up and dropping off students.
4 Responsibilities of Bus Drivers
In addition to getting to bus stops on time and making sure children get to school before classes begin, bus drivers also have many other important responsibilities—almost all of which include protecting the safety of children.
4 of the most important responsibilities that bus drivers have include:
- Driving at or below the speed limit
Speeding is always dangerous, but it’s especially hazardous in large oversized vehicles, including school buses filled with children. When bus drivers exceed the speed limit, they’re more likely to lose control while turning or navigating sharp curves in the roadway due to the vehicle’s elongated shape, heavy weight, and top-heavy nature. Bus drivers who are caught speeding face severe penalties.
- Never driving while impaired or intoxicated
All drivers should avoid getting behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, but it’s especially important for bus drivers to remain sober and clear-minded when they perform the duties of their job. Bus drivers who receive DUIs may be banned from the profession for life.
- Obeying all rules of the road
Whether it’s coming to a complete stop at stop signs, yielding when other vehicles have the right of way, using turn signals before turning or merging into another lane, and never passing vehicles in areas where it’s forbidden, bus drivers must abide by the same rules as every other driver on Tennessee’s roadways.
- Maintaining a safe and orderly atmosphere on the bus
While the biggest responsibility for bus drivers is making sure they drive safely at all times, they are also in charge of the children onboard their buses. That means they need to maintain control and order on their buses to avoid letting students cause distractions. Bus drivers receive training to help them learn how to deal with potentially unruly children who may put themselves and their classmates at risk.
Bus drivers play vital roles in the day to day lives of millions of students throughout the country. In addition to being tasked with making sure they get to and from school safely every day, they also must briefly supervise dozens of students at once. These responsibilities should never be taken lightly, and that’s why many counties and school districts in Tennessee require all bus drivers and applicants to undergo extensive testing and training before they are hired or allowed to drive.
If your child was injured in a bus accident that was caused by a negligent driver, you may be eligible to file a claim for compensation. To find out how our legal team can assist you and pursue damages for things like medical bills and pain and suffering, pick up your phone and dial (615) 200-1111 or complete a free initial consultation form.