Safety and Training


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 inspections every 45 days or 3,000 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) 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.

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 726 W. Collins Ave, Orange. For qualifying candidates the Training Department conducts an original class approximately two times each year.

Driver Authority

Authority of the Driver - 5 C.C.R. 14103.(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 the 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 in-route between home and school and other destinations. 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. (This information is available in the OUSD Parent/Student Handbook.)

Emergency Procedures

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

a). All pupils in pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and grades 1 to 12, inclusive, who are transported in a school bus shall receive instruction in school bus emergency procedures and passenger safety. The county superintendent of schools and superintendent of school district, 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 and who are in pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and grades 1 to 6, shall be provided with written information on school bus safety. The information shall include, but not 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 zones.
e). Walking to and from school bus stops.

2). At least once each school year, all pupils in pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and grades 1 to 8 inclusive, who receive home-to-school transportation, shall receive safety instruction which includes, but is not limited to, proper loading and unloading procedures, including escorting by the driver, proper passenger conduct, bus evacuation, and location of emergency equipment. Instruction also may include the responsibilities of passengers seated next to an emergency exit. As part of the instruction, pupils shall evacuate the school bus through the emergency exit doors.
3). Prior to departure on a school activity trip, all pupils riding on a school bus shall receive safety instruction which includes, but is not limited to, location of emergency exits and the location and use of emergency equipment. Instruction may also include the responsibilities of passengers seated next to an emergency exit.

The following information shall be documented each time the instruction is given:

1). Name of school district
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 shall remain on file for one year from the date of instruction and shall be subject to inspection by the California Highway Patrol.

Evacuation Drills

Yearly Bus Evacuation Drill

These evacuations are to be held during the months of September, October and November during the morning drop off at each school site. This drill will take approximately 10-15 minutes per school bus.

The bus driver will follow these procedures:
1). Demonstrate the location of the 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). Explain the proper use of the two-way radio. (Hold button in, call Dispatch Office, then release button to allow Dispatcher to respond.)
4). Explain how to set the parking brake and turn the engine off.
5). Explain the proper exiting through the left rear door or the rear door. (Leave all belongings on the bus.)
6). Do not allow the pupils to exit without bending at the knees and holding onto the hand of the person on the ground.
7). 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.

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 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.

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