New test could impact number of bus drivers hired this school year

Bus drivers will have to complete a physical test to keep their jobs.
Bus drivers will have to complete a physical test to keep their jobs.

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Attention school bus drivers! Before you go back to work this fall you may want to make sure you're in decent shape. There's a new state test to determine if you will keep your job.

Currently, school bus drivers in North Carolina have to go through a three day course where they must pass a written test. Plus, they have to pass a three day driving test.

Ken Nance, the director of transportation for New Hanover County Schools says since most bus drivers are part-time, there is already a high turnover rate. But a new required physical test could make it even harder to maintain drivers.

"We've always had physical requirements for bus drivers. We're going to actually start going out having the bus drivers show they can do certain things. Those include being able to go around the bus and up and down the steps in a certain period of time. Being able to sit in the seat of a bus and being able to stomp the brakes within a certain period of time. Also being able to get up out the seat in the front of the bus, go to the back of bus, open the front door and sit down in for a certain period of time also," said Nance.

According to Nance the physical test is a good thing. He says it guarantees drivers can get students off the buses in a safe and timely manner.

There are 184 permanent bus drivers employed by the New Hanover County School System.

The physical test becomes law in January. Some school officials are already making it a requirement for bus drivers they're hiring now.

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