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California Bus Driver Requirements

What Requirements Must You Meet to Become a Bus Driver?

Recent studies have shown that although California may be a relatively safe place to drive, some of our cities rank as the most dangerous in the country. In fact, according to reports from Vision Zero, someone is killed on the road every 40 hours. This non-profit organization reports the many reasons behind this anomaly including speeding, distraction, fatigue, road hazards, construction, and improper signage. However, the root of the issue revolves around our overly congested roads.

West Coast Trial Lawyers have experienced traffic attorneys that can advise you in a bus accident. Bus driver responsibilities and duties are very detailed in California and will be discussed in the following article.


City Bus Driver Requirements

Pedestrian Deaths in Los Angeles

In LA County, Metro operates more than 2,000 buses in California. The pay rate is based on how long you’re with the company and can range between $15.82 to $24.34 per hour. Benefits include part-time, flexible hours, tuition reimbursement, paid training, and more. In addition to having a clean record, to become a bus driver in California, you must pass the following:

  • Background Check. A background check allows the employer to review an individual’s criminal record, identity, social security information, public records, and even bankruptcies.
  • Bus Operator Candidate Assessment Test. The Bus Operator Candidate Assessment Test (BOCAT) is an exam that tests an individual on bus driver responsibilities and duties. Federal regulations decide what is on the test and require each driver to abide by these rules.
  • Pre-Employment Physical Exam. This exam may comprise several drug and alcohol tests, psychological tests, physical and or mental reviews, as well as stamina and mental endurance tests.
  • Employment Verification. This is a type of background check that examines the inconsistencies between the actual employment history of the application and what history the applicant provides.
  • Information Session. A brief seminar will go over additional bus driver responsibilities and duties.

School Bus Driving Essentials 

California school bus drivers have stricter requirements than Metro, charter, or tour bus drivers. Before you are even allowed to qualify for a school bus driving position, you must pass the following requirements.

  • 18 years or older
  • In average physical condition
  • Have no character issues
  • Clean driving record
  • No criminal activity
  • Ability to work well with children

To actually become a California School Bus Driver, you must:

  • Have a minimum of 20 hours of classroom instruction
  • Be able to pass a physical examination
  • Be able to pass 4 written tests at the DMV or Department of Motor Vehicles
  • Be able to pass 2 written tests at the CHP or California Highway Patrol
  • Take a 20-hour driving training course
  • Be able to pass the driving tests with the CHP
  • Be able to pass a pre-employment drug test and fingerprinting registration

When to Sue a Bus Driver 

If you’re in a bus accident that was caused by the negligence of another, you may have a case. Depending on the type of bus crash and how it happened, the circumstances will affect liability and how insurance will handle the case. In many situations, both the bus driver and company hold some type of liability. To determine whether or not you have a case on your hands, you should contact an experienced bus accident attorney.

Available Damages

Accidents happen. If you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Below is a brief explanation of damages. Damages are a type of monetary award that is determined by a court of law to help compensate an aggrieved individual for any losses or injuries sustained as a result of someone’s negligence. 

Economic Damages
Economic damages are intended to compensate a plaintiff for losses that a dollar amount can readily be attached to. Economic damages are calculated by determining the amount of out-of-pocket losses an aggrieved individual has or will expect to incur as a result of their injuries.

A few examples of economic losses include:

  • Loss of Earning Capacity
  • Medical Bills
  • Lost Wages

Non-Economic Damages
Non-economic damages are essentially intended to cover losses that are thought of as subjective and will not necessarily cover out-of-pocket losses. Non-economic damages may include compensation for:

  • Emotional Distress
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Loss of Enjoyment of Life

Punitive Damages
The third type of damages a California court may award are known as punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended as punishment and are only awarded when a defendant’s behavior is especially harmful. Punitive damages are relatively rare and in fact were only incorporated in 5 percent of all verdicts.

West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Here to Help

Victims of bus accidents are subject to costly repairs, bodily damage, and mental anguish. We at West Coast Trial Lawyers understand how stressful these situations can be and we handle each case with the individual attention and compassion you deserve. Our bus accident lawyers will help you recover financial and emotional damages that you have suffered because of the accident. This includes medical expenses, lost wages, emotional distress, property damage, and pain and suffering.

We offer a free, no-obligation consultation with the attorneys at our firm. Reach out to our knowledgeable, caring, and compassionate personal injury lawyers 24/7 by calling (213) 927-3700 or emailing [email protected].


If you have been injured in an accident, you can count on the legal team at West Coast Trial Lawyers to fight for your rights every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation with a personal injury attorney.
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