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Safety & Training

Danger Zone

"The Danger Zone" is the twelve-foot area around the school bus. This area is especially dangerous because students can stand in places in which the driver of the bus cannot see.

Students should always use extreme caution when in "The Danger Zone". Upon exiting the bus, students are instructed to take twelve large steps away from the bus. If the K-8th grade student(s) require crossing the street in front of the bus, the students must wait for the school bus driver to cross them. 9th-12th grade student(s) must check for traffic and cross safely.

California's best kept secret... The Yellow School Bus!
The Yellow School Bus Transportation is the safest, most economical and friendly method of transporting California's school children.

According to the National Safety Council in 1996, Yellow School Buses are:
  • 172 times safer than your family automobile.
  • 8 times safer than passenger trains.
  • 8 times safer than scheduled airlines.
  • 4 times safer than transit buses.
  • 4 times safer than intercity buses.
The Department of Transportation requires many additional safety features be built into every school bus which are not found on any other public or private vehicle.

All school buses are inspected daily by the school bus drivers and annually by the California Highway Patrol to ensure the buses meet safety standards. In addition, District mechanics perform comprehensive inspection every 45 days or 3,00 miles, whichever comes first.

School bus drivers are required by law to receive more training than any other driver in the state. A school bus driver's background is checked by the Department of Justice and/or the FBI prior to receiving a license to drive a school bus. School bus drivers must have a current Department of Transportation Medical Certificate (DL-51) or Examiners Medical Certificate (MEC) and pass the written CHP First Aid Test or have a current First Aid Card. School bus drivers must participate in a pre-employment drug and alcohol test and are randomly tested thereafter. All school bus drivers must attend regularly scheduled safety meetings and attend additional training sessions to maintain the skills needed to safely transport students. School bus drivers must have and maintain a clean driving record, both professionally and personally.

Law and Policies

Amber Warning Lights:
Buses equipped with amber warning lamps will operate them at least 200 feet before a bus stop to warn driver that the bus is stopping. When a bus is not equipped with amber flashing lights the bus driver will tap the brakes and start to slow down a minimum of 200 feet prior to a school bus stop.

Red Lights:
In the state of California traffic must stop in all directions on a two or three lane roadway when a school bus has the red crossover lights and side stop arm activated. On a multiple lane highway (two or more lanes in each direction) only the traffic traveling in the same direction as the school bus must stop. VC 22454

Violator Warning Letter:
The California Highway patrol may mail warning letter to the registered owners of any vehicle when a school bus driver reports an incident in which a vehicle does not stop for the red flashing lights.

Safety and Training

The primary goal of the Training Department is to promote safety, insuring all students receive the safest transportation possible. All school bus drivers receive extensive training in current laws, regulations and behind-the-wheel training as mandated by Federal and State regulations.
If you are interested in becoming a Substitute School bus Driver, complete an application along with a copy of your DMV Form (H-6) available from the Department of Motor Vehicles and return it to the Transportation Business Office located at 1701 E. Blossom, Dos Palos Ca. For qualifying candidates the Training Department conducts an original class approximately two times each year.

Authority of the Driver - Title 5 C.C.R. 14103 (a)

(a) Pupils transported in a school bus or in a school pupil activity bus shall be under the authority of, and responsible directly to, the driver of the bus, and the driver shall be held responsible for the orderly conduct of the pupils while they are on the bus or being escorted across a street, highway or road. Continued disorderly conduct or persistent refusal to submit to the authority of the driver shall be sufficient reason for a pupil to be denied transportation. A bus driver shall not require any pupil to leave the bus enroute between home and school or other destinations. (b) Governing boards shall adopt rules to enforce this section. Such rules shall include, but not be limited to, specific administration procedures relating to suspension of riding privileges and shall be made available to parents, pupils, teachers, and other interested parties.

Instruction in School Bus Emergency Procedure and Passenger Safety - 39831.5 E.C.

(a) All pupils in prekindergarten, kindergarten, and grades 1 to 12, inclusive, in public or private school who are transported in a school bus or school pupil activity bus shall receive instruction in school bus emergency procedures and passenger safety. The county superintendent of schools, superintendent of the school district, or owner/operator of a private school, as applicable, shall ensure that the instruction is provided as follows:

(1) Upon registration, the parents or guardians of all pupils not previously transported in a school bus or school pupil activity bus and who are in prekindergarten, kindergarten, and grades 1 to 6, inclusive, shall be provided with written information on school bus safety. The information shall include, but not be limited to, all of the following:

(A) A list of school bus stops near each pupil’s home.

(B) General rules of conduct at school bus loading zones.

(C) Red light crossing instructions.

(D) School bus danger zone.

(E) Walking to and from school bus stops.

(2) At least once in each school year, all pupils in prekindergarten, kindergarten, and grades 1 to 8, inclusive, who receive home-to-school transportation shall receive safety instruction that includes, but is not limited to, proper loading and unloading procedures, including escorting by the driver, how to safely cross the street, highway, or private road, instruction on the use of passenger restraint systems, as described in paragraph (3), proper passenger conduct, bus evacuation, and location of emergency equipment. Instruction also may include responsibilities of passengers seated next to an emergency exit. As part of the instruction, pupils shall evacuate the school bus through emergency exit doors.

(3) Instruction on the use of passenger restraint systems, when a passenger restraint system is installed, shall include, but not be limited to, all of the following:

(A) Proper fastening and release of the passenger restraint system.

(B) Acceptable placement of passenger restraint systems on pupils.

(C) Times at which the passenger restraint systems should be fastened and released.

(D) Acceptable placement of the passenger restraint systems when not in use.

(4) Prior to departure on a school activity trip, all pupils riding on a school bus or school pupil activity bus shall receive safety instruction that includes, but is not limited to, location of emergency exits, and location and use of emergency equipment. Instruction also may include responsibilities of passengers seated next to an emergency exit.

(b) The following information shall be documented each time the instruction required by paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) is given:

(1) Name of school district, county office of education, or private school.

(2) Name and location of school.

(3) Date of instruction.

(4) Names of supervising adults.

(5) Number of pupils participating.

(6) Grade levels of pupils.

(7) Subjects covered in instruction.

(8) Amount of time taken for instruction.

(9) Bus driver's name.

(10) Bus number.

(11) Additional remarks.

The information recorded pursuant to this subdivision shall remain on file at the district or county office, or at the school, for one year from the date of the instruction, and shall be subject to inspection by the Department of the California Highway Patrol.

Yearly Bus Evacuation Drill

These evacuations are to be held during the months of September, October and November during the morning while school is in session at each school site. This drill will take approximately 15-30 minutes per school bus.

The bus driver will follow these procedures:
1). Demonstrate the location of first aid kit. Appoint a pupil to be in charge if needed.
2). Demonstrate the location of the fire extinguisher. Appoint a pupil to be in charge if needed.
3). Demonstrate the location of road side reflectors. Appoint a pupil to be in charge if needed.
4). Explain the proper use of the two-way radio. (Hold button in, call Dispatch Office, then release button to allow Dispatch to respond.)
5). Explain how to set the parking brake and turn the engine off.
6). Explain the proper exiting through the side doors or the rear door. (Leave all belongings on the bus.)
7). Do not allow the pupils to exit without bending at the knees and sitting on the floor to slide and holding onto the hand of the person on the ground.
8). Special education buses will exit the rear door, if pupils are capable. If additional assistance is required, the bus driver will manage each pupil on an individual basis.

Transportation and Schools

In addition to training school bus drivers, the training department serves the school district in many other ways. Transportation Department employees are present and assist in evacuation drills, work with the bus conduct report system to improve discipline problems on the buses, and investigate all accidents or incidents that occur on the buses. Further, it is the duty of the Transportation Department to check to be certain that all buses ordered for field trips, including chartered or contracted service buses, are safe and legal, before allowing our students aboard.