Synovia Solutions Blog

Avoiding school bus loading/unloading accidents

Posted by Bill Westerman on Tue, Oct 01, 2013 @ 02:05 PM

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One of the leading causes of school bus accidents is carelessness when loading and unloading the bus. What's more devastating is that oftentimes these accidents could have been prevented. If you're a Transportation Director or Assistant Superintendent, it's imperative that you educate your students on the correct way to load and unload the school bus. Here are a few tips that - if shared - could save a life. 


It's important to educate students that it's only safe to approach the school bus after it has come to a complete stop. The driver will open the door and motion for students to enter. They should wait for that signal, knowing that the bus driver will have taken all the necessary precautions - including making sure traffic is stopped.

Schools teach kids to line up in an orderly fashion away from the road and enter the bus one at a time. If more than one child tries to walk up the stairs at a time, it can cause tripping and/or a domino effect should one fall.

Students they should always use the handrail when walking up the steps so as to avoid slipping, especially during icy winters.


Yes, there’s even a safe way to exit a bus too. Once the bus has completely stopped, students can walk toward the door. It is discouraged to bop other kids in the head with bags as they walk by.

Students should be encouraged to use the handrail while walking down the stairs to exit. (It is there for a reason!) They should also make sure that straps, drawstrings, and clothing don’t get caught in the handrails or the door.

Should homework or a paper fly out from a backpack, students should be aware that they should never chase it under the bus. We know that homework is important, but the student’s life is MORE important. He/She can ask the school bus driver to get it, or they can wait until the bus goes on its way (but only retrieving the paper if it’s not in a street with traffic).

If kids have to cross the street after getting off the bus, they should always do so in front of the bus, never behind. That way, the bus driver can keep his/her eyes on them. Students should also walk at least 10 feet in front of the bus to ensure that the driver can always see them. If the road is clear, students should cross quickly. If not, they should return to the curb and defer to the bus driver’s prerogative as to when to cross.

Just like there’s more than one way to skin a cat (or so the saying goes), there’s more than one way to enter and exit a bus, but the safe way is the best way. So make sure your school system is teaching students the proper way and thus avoiding loading/unloading accidents.


Back to School Safety Tips for Parents

Tags: safety, k-12, school bus

How to become a school bus driver

Posted by Bill Westerman on Tue, Jun 25, 2013 @ 11:55 AM

shutterstock 85419637 1Do you love spending time on the road? Do you get excited about the idea of driving a vehicle bigger than a car? Do you enjoy being around kids? Could you benefit from some extra income? If you answered “Yes” to the above questions, you might be a great candidate to become a school bus driver.

While training guidelines vary state to state, some requirements remain constant, regardless. These policies dictate bus driver eligibility requirements, such as driving record and level of education. In the event that you are interested in this opportunity, read on for some general direction of how to become a school bus driver.

Complete high school

All applicants must show their high school diploma before being hired, so finish that degree!

Be at least 24 years old

In addition to age requirements, many districts also require that applicants have some form of experience in driving buses, big trucks or other large vehicles.

Complete a first aid course

Becoming first aid certified is imperative. First and foremost, bus drivers must ensure the safety of their students.

Hold a CDL

All districts require their us drivers to have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). This is a license for driving a bus that is obtained from the local Department of Motor Vehicles. You have to pass a written test in addition to a driving test in order to pass. Your school district might pay for your CDL, so check with them before taking the test.

Pass a written test

In addition to the DMV test, you have to pass a written test with the district where you’ll be driving buses. Some districts require an ability test as well.

Complete a criminal background check

All applicants must pass a background check before they can be hired. This includes obtaining a set of fingerprints at the local police station and completing and signing a release of information

Be good with kids

Working with children come with the territory when it comes to driving a school bus, so loving kids is a major perk. All school bus drivers must be able to monitor kids’ behavior and always be courteous to them. (After all, you are their advocate.) You also need to make sure that all riders follow the bus rules, so being stern is probably a plus.


Apply at your local school district’s Board of Education office. You will likely have to fill out an application and conduct an interview with the person responsible for bus drivers (or district superintendent).

A few tips to keep in mind:

  • Your education does not stop once you are licensed and hired as a bus driver. Most states require bus drivers to complete ongoing training in order to renew your license.
  • Your personal driving record is just as important as your professional one when it’s your livelihood. Once a bus driver, these records are viewed as one and the same. When driving your personal vehicle, exhibit as much caution as when driving the bus.
  • Any instance of criminal offense, drug or alcohol-related incidents or reckless driving could result in your school bus license being revoked. Always exhibit professionalism in your personal life. 
Becoming a bus driver can be a rewarding career and well worth the effort to make it happen.

How to Increase School Bus Safety

Tags: k-12, school bus

Benefits of seat belts on school buses

Posted by Bill Westerman on Tue, May 21, 2013 @ 10:27 AM

shutterstock 114499762Seat belts on school buses has been a hotly-debated topic for decades. Everyone wants to weigh in - from kids to administrators, parents to bus drivers, bus manufacturers to the transportation industry.

Cost, safety, and “Would kids actually wear them?” all play major factors. According to, at least 6 states (California, Texas, New York, New Jersey, Florida, Louisiana) require seat belts to be installed on their new buses. Obviously, these states find them worthwhile. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of outfitting school buses with seat belts.
Crash Protection
Advocates of belts on buses interpret available crash-test and case-study data as indicating that belts provide improved crash protection and are beneficial especially in side-impacts and roll-overs. They could also provide a reduction in injuries to out-of-position students that would be kept in their seats by the belts.

Less Distracted Drivers
It is speculated that seat belts implemented in buses would lead to improved behavior in passengers, thus less distractions for drivers. Keeping students in their seats also has the potential to lessen bullying which oftentimes occurs on the bus. With the help of seating charts, bus drivers can strategically place troublemakers away from their targets.

Reinforced Usage
Use of seat belts in school buses would reinforce seat belt usage across the board. Babies come home from the hospital being strapped into car seats and later grow up riding in cars in booster seats. They are used to being strapped in, so implementing them in buses would be an extension of this lifelong critical habit.

Regardless of your opinions on the issue, we can all agree that we want students to be safe - with or without seat belts.


How to Increase School Bus Safety

Tags: safety, k-12, school bus

Top resources to provide your school bus drivers

Posted by Bill Westerman on Tue, Apr 09, 2013 @ 09:57 AM

shutterstock 85419637As you are getting ready for school to start this August, perhaps you’ve thought about sharing some additional information for your bus drivers. Below you’ll find a few links that we found helpful:

NAPT - National Association for Pupil Transport
This website is specifically for those involved with student transport. They have an online store and resources; however, you have to be a member in order to partake in all they offer.

School Bus Fleet
This site is kept up-to-date, even with current events. You can read their digital magazine, take part in web polls, and check out trainings (like Overturned Bus Training).

School Transportation News
School Transportation News provides a wealth of information! You can subscribe to their magazine, read about safety, listen to their webcasts, and check out their product information.

What are your favorite resources for school bus safety?


How to Increase School Bus Safety

Tags: safety, k-12, school bus