Many charter and intercity carriers have passenger comfort and safety rules. Mention rules about smoking, drinking, or use of radio and tape players at the start of the trip. Explaining the rules at the start will help to avoid trouble later on.
While driving, scan the interior of your bus as well as the road ahead, to the sides, and to the rear. You may have to remind riders about rules, or to keep arms and heads inside the bus.
Riders can stumble when getting on or off, and when the bus starts or stops. Caution riders to watch their step when leaving the bus. Wait for them to sit down or brace themselves before starting. Starting and stopping should be as smooth as possible to avoid rider injury.
Occasionally, you may have a drunk or disruptive rider. You must ensure this rider’s safety as well as that of others. Don’t discharge such riders where it would be unsafe for them. It may be safer at the next scheduled stop or a well-lighted area where there are other people. Many carriers have guidelines for handling disruptive riders.
The Most Common Bus Accidents. Bus accidents often happen at intersections. Use caution, even if a signal or stop sign controls other traffic. School and mass transit buses sometimes scrape off mirrors or hit passing vehicles when pulling out from a bus stop. Remember the clearance your bus needs, and watch for poles and tree limbs at stops. Know the size of the gap your bus needs to accelerate and merge with traffic. Wait for the gap to open before leaving the stop. Never assume other drivers will brake to give you room when you signal or start to pull out.
Speed on Curves
Crashes on curves that kill people and destroy buses result from excessive speed, often when rain or snow has made the road slippery. Every banked curve has a safe “design speed.” In good weather, the posted speed is safe for cars but it may be too high for many buses. With good traction, the bus may roll over; with poor traction, it might slide off the curve. Reduce speed for curves! If your bus leans toward the outside on a banked curve, you are driving too fast.
Railroad-highway Crossings Stops
Stop at RR Crossings:
Stop at Drawbridges. Stop at drawbridges that do not have a signal light or traffic control attendant. Stop at least 50 feet before the draw of the bridge. Look to make sure the draw is completely closed before crossing. You do not need to stop, but must slow down and make sure it’s safe, when:
After-trip Vehicle Inspection
Inspect your bus at the end of each shift. If you work for an interstate carrier, you must complete a written inspection report for each bus driven. The report must specify each bus and list any defect that would affect safety or result in a breakdown. If there are no defects, the report should say so.
Riders sometimes damage safety-related parts such as handholds, seats, emergency exits, and windows. If you report this damage at the end of a shift, mechanics can make repairs before the bus goes out again. Mass transit drivers should also make sure passenger signaling devices and brake-door interlocks work properly.
Avoid fueling your bus with riders on board unless absolutely necessary. Never refuel in a closed building with riders on board.
Don’t talk with riders, or engage in any other distracting activity, while driving.
Do not tow or push a disabled bus with riders aboard the vehicle, unless getting off would be unsafe. Only tow or push the bus to the nearest safe spot to discharge passengers. Follow your employer’s guidelines on towing or pushing disabled buses.
Use of Brake-door Interlocks
Urban mass transit coaches may have a brake and accelerator interlock system. The interlock applies the brakes and holds the throttle in idle position when the rear door is open. The interlock releases when you close the rear door. Do not use this safety feature in place of the parking brake
Regulations in red are new this year.
Purple text indicates an important note.