Do School Bus Drivers in Virginia Need a Physical?

Driving a school bus is a significant responsibility because it involves transporting precious cargo: children. To ensure the safety and well-being of both students and drivers, Virginia mandates that all school bus drivers undergo regular physical exams. Understanding what the school bus driver physical includes ensures you’ll be ready to do your job and enjoy peace of mind when it comes time to renew your certification.

Though timelines for your school bus driver physical in Virginia may differ based on your district, this article will cover some of the standard requirements you should expect.

Do Virginia School Bus Drivers Need a Physical?

The short answer is yes, school bus drivers in Virginia do need to complete and pass a physical before they can start working. You’ll also need to complete and pass a yearly physical to remain eligible for continued employment.

Read the complete requirements on the official Virginia LIS page and check with your school district’s HR department for details. Some districts may require additional exams or screenings to ensure the safety of their students and drivers.

What Does a Virginia School Bus Driver Physical Include?

The physical exam for Virginia school bus drivers is comprehensive and designed to ensure that drivers are in good health and can safely operate a bus. According to Virginia law, the physical form approved by the Virginia Board of Education must be completed and signed by a licensed physician or nurse practitioner.

Your provider will ask you questions about your medical history and perform a physical exam to fully understand your health. The exam consists of several portions, including basic health information, vital signs, a hearing and vision screen, and ensuring you are free of any conditions that could make it unsafe to drive a school bus.

The Basics

At the start of your exam, your provider will review your medical history. This includes discussing any past surgeries, chronic conditions you’ve been diagnosed with, and any medications you’re currently taking. If you have a primary care provider, bringing a copy of your established medical history can help make this portion of the exam easier.

Your provider will also ask about your use of alcohol and drugs, including any abuse or history of abusing these substances. They’ll ask about which prescription and over-the-counter medications you take as well, so you should also bring an up-to-date list of your current medications.

Vital Signs

Your school bus driver physical will include an assessment of your vital signs, especially heart rate and blood pressure. Both high blood pressure and irregular heartbeats can be serious safety issues while driving. As a result, your measurements will need to fall within a normal range to pass the physical.

Hearing and Vision Screening

Clear vision and good hearing are essential for identifying potential hazards on the road. The school bus driver physical includes both a hearing and vision test to ensure you meet the minimum safety standards to operate a bus.

School bus drivers in Virginia must typically have at least 20/40 vision in each eye (distant and near), with or without corrective lenses. You’ll also need to have at least a 140-degree field of horizontal vision. Lastly, you’ll need to be able to recognize the colors of traffic signals, including red, green, and amber.

The hearing test ensures drivers can hear a forced whisper from a specific distance, with or without a hearing aid. Your district may direct you to a secondary location for more specialized testing on the hearing portion of the exam if you have difficulty hearing or use a hearing aid.

Safe Functioning

Several chronic health conditions can interfere with your ability to safely operate a school bus. For example, epilepsy or a seizure disorder could make you unexpectedly lose control of the vehicle. Certain vascular disorders may affect the feeling in your feet, which makes operating the bus dangerous.

These are just a few examples. Your provider will assess you for all conditions that could make driving a bus unsafe, including:

  • Impairments to any of your limbs
  • Diabetes
  • History of a heart attack or stroke
  • History of dizziness or fainting
  • Respiratory disfunction
  • High blood pressure
  • Arthritis
  • Epilepsy or seizures
  • Mental health diagnoses

Other Tests as Needed

If there are any concerning findings during your exam or in your medical history, your provider may recommend additional testing to determine if you are fit to drive a bus. This may include an x-ray to look for issues with your bones or an EKG to examine your heart further.

Your school district may also require extra testing, including a urine drug test or a tuberculosis (TB) skin test. You should check with your district before scheduling your exam to determine if these tests are needed.

Where Can School Bus Drivers Get a Physical in Virginia?

Any licensed physician or nurse practitioner can sign off on a school bus driver physical in Virginia. You can complete your physical with your primary care provider or at another facility, such as urgent care. If you’re a driver, check with your school district to see if they have a preferred location for you to visit.

Whether you are a school bus driver or a district employee looking to arrange physical exams for your staff, Velocity Urgent Care’s occupational medicine services are a convenient and cost-effective choice. Each of our clinics across Virginia offers occupational health services, including physicals, drug screening, and workers’ compensation services.

To learn more about Velocity Urgent Care’s occupational medicine offerings, please visit our dedicated webpage or contact Pam Boyd (pbody@velocityuc.com) with questions.

Velocity Urgent Care is Here to Help

Whether you need a school bus driver physical or rapid care for an injury or illness, Velocity Urgent Care is ready to help. Simply stop in at any of our conveniently located clinics across Virginia or make an appointment with our online registration portal to skip the waiting room. We even offer text message updates so you can wait in the car (if you prefer) until it’s time for your appointment.

We have strict sterilization protocols in place and are carefully handling patients who may be contagious to ensure each of our clinics is safe for those who need urgent medical care or occupational health services.

Velocity Urgent Care is an in-network provider for most major insurance plans, meaning you can be seen for the cost of your co-pay and deductible.

All our locations also accept Medicare, Medicaid, and Tricare. Veterans Administration beneficiaries are also welcome.

To learn more about our services, locations, hours, and more, visit www.velocityuc.com.