Thoughts on school bus drivers

Updated: 2011-12-22 08:40

(China Daily)

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I worked as a school bus driver for about six months in Illinois, United States, and experienced the entire procedure of recruiting school bus drivers and their training.

A school bus driver in Illinois has to pass FBI clearance check. Anyone who has a recorded felony against his/her name is disqualified. A candidate also needs to pass a physical examination and a drug test to prove he/she is fit enough to operate a school bus.

To become a licensed school bus driver, one has to undergo one-month training, pass a written test and a road test. During the one month, a candidate learns how to drive a school bus and check its safety.

Each examination has to be signed by an examiner, and all the details must be recorded, such as whether or not a test taker has a rolling stop.

Besides, the license to drive a school bus is valid for only one year and a driver has to undergo a drug test every year.

School buses enjoy priority over all other vehicles in Illinois. When a school bus displays the stop sign, all vehicles behind it have to stop. If not, the school bus driver can call police and report against the vehicle.

A driver overtaking a school bus when the stop sign is on faces a fine of at least $200. School bus drivers have the supreme authority over the students in their vehicles, and while a school bus is moving, no student is allowed to stand.

School bus drivers are public servants and are supervised by the public. For example, a school bus driver must stop before crossing train or tram tracks, and if anyone sees a school bus driver not stopping, he/she can call the local government to report the violation.

Safety of students is an issue for all Chinese people. We should put up signs for speed limit in school areas, formulate strict rules for hiring school bus drivers, and give them enough powers to command respect.

Wang Chaohua, via e-mail

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(China Daily 12/22/2011 page9)