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School Buses

Recent high profile and tragic incidents have highlighted the nature and extent of the exposure for a school to a major loss presented by an accident involving a school owned bus.

 

Whilst the cause of many accidents are outside the control of the school, there are nonetheless a number of preventative actions in the following areas :

(a) Maintenance
If your school owns a bus, you are legally obliged to submit the vehicle for Dept of Environment testing every year. This is to ensure that the bus is in a roadworthy condition. It is also recommended that a suitably qualified technician service the bus, either every 6 months or 10,000 kilometers.

(b) Vehicle Checks
Schools should implement pre-drive checks on both the interior and exterior of the vehicle.

(c) Drivers
Before allowing anyone to drive a school bus the school should check that the driver has:
• Relevant current drivers licence ( D1 licence for vehicle up to 16 passengers and D Licence for bus with 8 passenger seats )
• Is covered by bus insurance
• Is deemed fit to drive the bus
• Has received the appropriate training under the conditions in which they are likely to drive.
Any person should not drive the vehicle for more than two consecutive hours. After this period the drivers should take a minimum break of 15 minutes and should not be required to supervise children in this period.

(d) Supervision
It is essential that appropriate supervision of pupils is provided at all times. It should be made clear to pupils that a code of conduct/level of behaviour which applies in the classroom equally applies to school bus travel.

(e) Luggage
Luggage should be stowed safely and securely. If there are no luggage compartments or overhead storage, it is essential that all luggage be kept of out the aisle to avoid any injuries as result of trips or falls.

(f) Safety Equipment
Always ensure that the bus is fitted with a fire extinguisher and a first aid kit.

(g) Overloading
Great care must be taken to ensure the vehicle is not overloaded. Remember - overloading the vehicle is not only potentially dangerous, it is also illegal. Over loading even by a small margin, makes the vehicle more difficult to control, thus increasing the potential exposure to a serious loss.