Who Is Responsible for School Bus Safety?

school bus safety

school bus safetyWho is responsible for school bus safety in a district? On the balance, the only rational answer to the question is "everyone." Whenever some sort of safety incident occurs, there can be a lot of finger-pointing - but at the end of the day, protecting children should be everyone's business. It's not something that can be partitioned.

Everyone in a district can have a part to play in protecting students on a bus. Here are some suggestions for how various groups can pitch in.

School Districts

School bus safety may be everyone's business, but the schools themselves are still going to be doing most of the work. Just a few important aspects include:

  • Properly maintaining and servicing the bus fleet.
  • Installing safety upgrades, such as video cameras, seatbelts, or additional stop-arm lights.
  • Keeping up on driver training and re-training.
  • Educating students on proper bus behavior.
  • Educating parents and other people in the district on how to behave around school buses.

Bus Drivers

Besides driving safely, bus drivers can contribute substantially to the safety of their students.

  • Practicing de-escalation techniques to reduce misbehavior.
  • Knowing defensive driving and utilizing it consistently.
  • Making use of technology, such as GPS devices, to avoid dangerous road conditions.
  • Knowing and practicing emergency procedures, such as how to quickly get students off a bus that has become dangerous.
  • Having easy access to, and knowing how to use, emergency equipment such as fire extinguishers.

Adults in the District

As the saying goes, "it takes a village to raise a child." Adults in the district, whether they're parents or not, should be encouraged to remember school bus safety on the road:

  • Being aware of school buses and giving them plenty of room.
  • Watching buses to anticipate when they might stop.
  • Always obeying the stop arm.
  • Being alert for children whenever the bus is stopped.
  • Not escalating conflicts with the driver, should they occur.

Outreach and education from the district can help reinforce these ideas!


Students can also be responsible for their own safety, although to varying degrees depending on their age. Again, district-led education can reinforce these ideas.

  • Understanding that staying in their seats is a safety issue, not an arbitrary rule.
  • Never deliberately distracting the driver.
  • Older students watching out for younger ones.
  • Training particularly responsible students to help out in the case of an emergency, such as knowing how to assist in an evacuation.

In short, school bus safety truly is a group effort. Whenever something goes wrong, it's usually unhelpful to point fingers. The best way forward is to enhance and reinforce safety techniques, so it doesn't happen again.

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How does your district reinforce important bus safety lessons? Let's share tips in the comments below!