Local school bus safety rules

Local districts have different bus rules

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- New York State law requires that large school buses manufactured after July 1, 1987 be equipped with seat belts, and that schools make them accessible to everyone on the bus.

Every school bus driver is required to wear a seat belt, and children under four years of age must ride in properly installed, federally-certified child safety seats.

Each school district sets its own policy for seat belt use by the other passengers.

You must be at least 21 to drive a school bus in New York State. You must have a CDL with "P" and "S" endorsements. They stand for passengers and school bus. Drivers must pass written and skills tests. They must have at least 20/40 vision in each eye with or without corrective lenses.

Employers also need an applicant’s current physical exam info, a background check, and an abstract of their driving record.

The Niagara Falls City School District Superintendent told 2 On Your Side that students in his district are not required to wear seat belts.

"We have had no mentionable injuries in some of the minor fender benders that we've had, and we've had fender benders, that would have changed the outcome whether there had been a seat belt or not. And of course, I'm real thankful for the safety of the drivers and the safety of the students for that. But to answer your question directly, no it's not a required policy, nor is it one we're contemplating," says Mark Laurrie, Superintendent of Niagara Falls City Schools.

Laurrie says this isn't an issue - like security cameras - that parents usually ask about.

"It's not a hot topic. It's not a hot issue. It's not a major safety issue of our safety committees or negotiations with the bus company when we just re-upped their contracts," he says.

A spokesperson for the Buffalo School District tells us that all students are trained on how to use their seat belts, and they are all expected to wear seat belts while they're on the yellow buses.


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