What are the requirements to operate a school bus in Tenn.?

What are the requirements to operate a school bus in Tenn.?

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By KRISTYN CADDELL
6 News Reporter 

KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- After a Farragut student was dragged and injured by a school bus last week, 6 News found out more about regulations for bus drivers in Tennessee.

There are approximately 1,000 school bus drivers in Knox County.

In order to operate a bus, the drivers have to meet these requirements:

  • Have a commercial driver's license that covers the class of vehicle they are driving
  • Attend a four-hour safety course each year
  • Renew their medical certificates by undergoing an evaluation each year 

"It is a physical and so called mental evaluation that they go through with a physician and he will approve and give them a card to carry with them," explains Tennessee Highway Patrol Officer Debbie Pafford.

If the driver doesn't pass or the doctor sees a problem, that information is handed over to the employer to determine what happens next.

Driver have to be at least 18, but there's no cut-off age requirement.

"If I was 100, I could be driving any vehicle, if I was qualified," Pafford says.

Once a driver has his commercial driver's license, the law doesn't require re-testing.

The Highway Patrol says it takes complaints about drivers very seriously. If a complaint is filed, officers go watch the driver in action. It normally takes an offense like a DUI to revoke driving privileges.

Busses are also inspected at least once a year.

Each county has its own policy and procedure book regarding school bus drivers, and if a county chooses to enact an age limit, it could.

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