Frequently Asked Questions
1. How many school buses are there in the United States? There are approximately 450,000 school buses transporting 24 million schoolchildren each school day.
2. Why are school buses yellow? In 1939, at the first meeting of the National Conference on School Transportation, a guideline was adopted that the exterior of school buses be painted a color now known as National School Bus Yellow. However, each state has the authority to designate the color of its school buses.
3. What are the requirements to become a school bus driver? Each state has its own requirements for drivers. In addition, the employer, whether it's a school district or private school bus operator, can impose its own special requirements. Basically, however, drivers must obtain a commercial driver's license and receive a minimum amount of behind-the-wheel and classroom training before ever transporting students. They also must undergo drug and alcohol testing (a federal requirement), pass a medical exam, and, in most states, undergo criminal background checks.
4. Why don't school buses have seat belts?
Many of them do, actually. The smaller buses often used for special-education transportation are equipped with lap belts. But the larger buses typically do not have seat belts. That's because school buses built after 1977 have a passive occupant protection system called compartmentalization. Through compartmentalization, passengers sit in what could be described as a protective cocoon. This cocoon is created by closely spaced, energy-absorbing seats with padded backs. Over the past decade or so, fatalities among passengers of school buses have averaged fewer than 10 per year, an incredible safety record.
***my personal thoughts on this is that if all my passengers were belted in and I needed to evacuate quickly ... it would be difficult to unfasten 40 or so grade schoolers...if they paniced and couldn't do it themselves***
***the school bus is designed to protect the child as the seats are padded in such a manner (called compartmenting) that protects the student when he/she is seated properly***