ORLANDO, Fla.— It’s the time of the year when those owner/operators of private school transportation, child care transportation and after school programs need to be get ready for the coming up school year.
The School Transportation Management Section, as a part of the Florida Department of Education, provides leadership, assistance, and training for school districts and other clients to ensure safe and efficient transportation of Florida's public school students. That section is also responsible for monitoring school district transportation programs for compliance with laws, rules, and industry campaigns pertaining to safety.
Very important: When hiring drivers, conduct a thorough drug screening and background check. Professional services are available for drug and background checks. Most states require you get fingerprint clearance if you are going to work with children.
You must secure liability insurance to cover your vehicles, your employees, and passengers. Speak to your insurance agent about state requirements. The majority of states require a liability insurance coverage in the range of $500,000 to $1 million for transportation services.
A few things the bus driver must keep in mind and remind their student passengers to emphasize on safety and prevent accidents or any unwanted situation, are as follows:
Loading or Unloading from the Bus
- As the bus is approaching, watch for the red flashing lights and the stop arms to extend.
- When the bus stops, wait for the driver’s signal that it is safe to cross the road or board the bus. If crossing the street, look left, right, and left again.
- When the driver signals that it is safe, walk at least 12 feet in front of the bus where the driver can see you.
- Never walk behind the school bus. Never run after the bus. Hold the handrail while going up and down the stairs.
- Go directly to your bus seat and remain seated during the entire ride.
- Exit the bus only at your assigned bus stop. If you drop something near the bus, tell the bus driver.
- Never try to pick it up first, because the driver may not be able to see you.
- Parents or guardians of small children should wait with them in the morning and meet them at the bus stop in the afternoon.
Riding in the School Bus
- Keep hands, arms, and head inside bus.
- Always buckle up properly if your school bus has safety belts. Stay in your seat and obey the driver.
- Remain seated at all times and keep the aisle clear.
- Stop talking and remain silent when the bus comes to a railroad crossing so the driver can hear if a train is approaching.
- Avoid any loud or disruptive behavior that could distract the bus driver from safely operating the bus.
- Be courteous and respectful to your driver.
- Safely getting you to and from school is a tremendous responsibility that the driver takes very seriously.
Most of the Florida school bus operators participated again this year in a survey of illegal passing of their buses. The 2018 survey results are now available here.
Now regarding the guidelines for seating of preschool age children in school buses in our state, the Florida Department of Education provides extensive information on this topic on their website.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently conducted crash testing of pre-school size dummies in school bus seats. The test results indicated that pre-school age children are safest when transported in a child safety restraint system (CSRS) that meets Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 213, “Child Restraint Systems,” and that is correctly attached to the school bus bench seat. They also offer a legal opinion to this respect.
The main goal is to keep your student passengers safe, after all it is what mostly determines your business success, as parents and other institutions consider your service reliable to trust you their loved ones.
For personal insurance solutions check out our sister company Orlando Insurance Center