Not just anybody can get behind the wheel of a school bus. It takes someone quite out of the ordinary to control a vehicle, watch traffic and road conditions, and at the same time manage sixty high-spirited passengers. Personality aside, the legal requirements for becoming a licensed school bus driver are very demanding. Between 20 and 40 hours of specialized training are followed by written exams and a road test in the bus. Driving and criminal records are reviewed and medical examinations are required. Every driver must complete certified driver improvement courses, as well as know traffic laws and safety procedures inside out. Periodic re-examinations keep the school bus driver sharp and safety-wise.
There’s no mistaking a school bus for anything other than a school bus. That distinctive yellow and black colouring, the stop arm, the flashing lights, are all designed to warn traffic that this special vehicle must be treated with extra respect and caution (learn about Ontario’s school bus stopping law). Besides being highly noticeable, a school bus is exceptionally well-built. Construction and equipment standards for school buses are controlled by more government regulations than any other vehicle on public roadways. There are strict specifications for the roof, tires, lights, mirrors, seats, safety equipment…even the number and size of bandages in the first-aid kit! In addition to regular maintenance, a licensed mechanic inspects every school bus thoroughly twice a year. To be sure that the inspection program is effective, Ontario Ministry of Transportation mechanics make random inspections of school buses throughout the province (learn more about Ontario’s random school bus inspections here).
Behind the buses and drivers is a complex network of service and support people. They may be on staff at school bus companies, school boards, bus manufacturing firms, or with the government. They may be mechanics, routers, dispatchers, administrators, trustees or law enforcement officials. Each one plays a vital role in keeping the school bus industry running safely and efficiently. Working together, these professionals decide which children must be bused to school and where and when to pick them up. They set standards for behavior on the bus and handle discipline problems. They also research, design and enforce the many laws that govern school busing. Finding new and better ways to protect little passengers is a constant challenge, but it’s one that the school bus industry tackles with collective pleasure and pride.
16 TIMES SAFER, In Fact
According to Transport Canada, on a per passenger basis, per kilometre basis, the occupants of school buses are 16 times less likely to be injured in road collisions than the occupants of any other motor vehicles. That’s no accident. Thousands of men and women in the school bus industry work hard to earn a safety record second to no other transporter. In Ontario, on any given school day, more than 700,000 children climb aboard almost 16,000 school buses. The buses deliver them safely to school and bring them home again. Perhaps because it’s such a common routine, the children, and much of the general public, are never aware of the care and activity behind the scenes.
Student Transportation Links & Information
Simcoe County District School Board
The Simcoe County Student Transportation Consortium (SCSTC) provides transportation for approximately 35,000 out of a total of over 77,000 students enrolled in local school boards. These students travel on over 719 vehicles in excess of 87,000 km. per day (which is almost equal to 2 times the circumference of the earth). Please visit: www.scdsb.on.ca/schools/student-transportation/bus-information/
Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board
We are committed to making Catholic education accessible to children in our school communities by providing safe and reliable transportation to students who qualify. Please visit: www.smcdsb.on.ca/parents/student_transportation
Trillium Lakelands District School Board
Trillium Lakelands District School Board provides safe and efficient transportation for your children. School bus transportation reflects a partnership with the home so that your children can arrive at school safe and ready to learn. Please familiarize yourself with transportation procedures listed below so that, together, we can provide the best transportation system. Please Visit: www.tldsb.ca/parents/transportation
Nipissing Parry Sound Student Transportation Services
Our primary mission is to provide a transportation service for students that is safe, efficient, on-time, pleasant, and responsive to individual needs in an environment conducive to the advancement of the mission of the member boards. Please visit: www.npssts.ca
Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation School Bus Safety Smarts
Please visit : www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/safety/schoolbus/smarts.shtml