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Design of the vehicle and training of the drivers make school buses a safe form of transportation

Posted at 5:29 PM, Nov 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-22 20:29:35-05

Despite the tragic school bus accident in Chattanooga, Tennessee, traveling by bus is still considered one of the safest forms of transportation.

In California, traveling on a school bus is arguably even safer than in other parts of the nation, with strict regulations for the vehicle and driver.

California is one of a handful of states to require a seatbelt on newer model buses (in California's case, any bus made after 2005) and is the only state that uses a lap and shoulder seatbelt.

As for school bus drivers, the months-long training process includes a CHP background check, classroom work and behind the wheel training before the final test is administered.

California Highway Patrol officer Elena Demarah, who is the school bus officer for Bakersfield, conducts the background checks and works closely with bus drivers.

"The bus is so safe, my own children ride the school bus every day," Demarah said.

A thorough inspection of the vehicle is done every day by the drivers and every 45 days, or 3,000 miles, by the district. 

The Kern High School District says about 50% of their 220 buses have seatbelts and the Kern County Superintendent of Schools' buses all have seatbelts.