The School Bus CDL Test is an examination that some states – though, not all states - require you to have before you can drive a school bus. Typically, you must have successfully passed the Passenger CDL Test and the CDL General Knowledge test before you will be awarded the School Bus endorsement. Additionally, if the School Bus is equipped with Air Brakes, you will also be required to have this endorsement also.
You will be required to show that you possess the skills and knowledge that will keep you and your passengers safe.
During a pre-trip inspection, you will be required to show that the following items are in good working order:
- Tires (front wheels must not be regrooved or recapped)
- Parking Brake
- Lights and reflectors
- Service brakes that will include the air hose couplings (if you bus has a trailer or semi-trailer)
- Wheels and rims
- Emergency equipment
- Rear-vision mirrors
- Windshield wipers
- Access doors and panels
- Bus interior
- Roof hatches
Be aware that the posted speed on turns may be safe for automobiles, but it may be too high for many buses. You need to reduce speed for curves and know that if your bus leans toward the outside on a banked curve, you are certainly driving too fast.
Stopping at Railroad crossings will also surely be covered on your test. Listen and look both directions for trains. When you see a bus stopped at a railroad crossing and opening its doors, that is so the driver can improve their ability to see or hear an approaching train. Also, be sure and look the other direction after a train has passed, to make sure that a train isn’t on another track headed the opposite direction.
Be sure to always use your seatbelt – it is for your safety! You can never allow passengers or riders to leave luggage or carry-on baggage in a aisle or doorway.
When loading luggage, do so in a manner that will allow the driver to move freely, easily and safely. It must be loaded so that it allows passengers to exit by any window or door in case of an emergency and it must loaded in a manner that will not injure anyone if the carry-on falls or shifts during a sudden stop or quick turn.
You should know what the Standee line is – this will comes up on the tests frequently. It is a two inch line on the floor showing where passengers cannot stand. All standing riders must be behind this line.
Many items on this test deal with the safety of the passengers and you will be required to show that have a command of this information. Many states also require that you pass a background or driving records check before they will issue you this endorsement.
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