On the following pages I describe how a school bus pre-trip inspection is performed when you are being tested to obtain your license. Safety is the most important reason for performing this inspection and you will be evaluated on your knowledge of the major safety related items on your bus. Not only must you identify these items but you will be required to explain to the examiner how you would recognize a potential problem.

The most common initial reaction from new school bus driver to the pre-trip inspection is that there is an overwhelming amount of information that you have to recall. And there is! But when they follow the tips presented here they realize it is not the impossible task they first thought.

Tip #1 — Break it down into sections. Know what items are included in each section and be able to identify them and describe how you would recognize a potential problem.

Tip #2 — Follow the same order each time you practice. The ten sections presented on the left represent the order I follow. You will not be scored based on the order you use but what I use is a logical sequence around the bus and has been used successfully many, many times.

Tip #3 — Terminology. On the next page I present the phrases I use to describe what I am inspecting for. You can use whatever is comfortable and easy to remember as long as you convey the same message.

Tip #4 — The exam is not complete until you say it is. Because you are not scored on the order you inspect this means at any time before you tell the examiner you are finished you can address something you forgot earlier.