Pupil Transportation

8 CRR-NY 156.3

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OFFICIAL COMPILATION OF CODES, RULES AND REGULATIONS OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK
TITLE 8. EDUCATION DEPARTMENT
CHAPTER II. REGULATIONS OF THE COMMISSIONER
SUBCHAPTER J. BUILDINGS AND TRANSPORTATION
PART 156. TRANSPORTATION


Current through October 31, 2011

* Section 156.3.* Safety regulations for school bus drivers, monitors, attendants and pupils.



  (a) Definitions. For purposes of this section:
(1) A school bus driver shall mean any person who drives a school bus which is owned, leased or contracted for by a public school district, board of cooperative educational services or nonpublic school for the purpose of transporting pupils. However, for the purposes of this section, the following shall not be considered to be school bus drivers:
(i) a driver of a passenger or suburban type vehicle if such driver is a school district employee who is not ordinarily required to transport pupils and is operating such vehicle for the purpose of transporting one or more pupils to a hospital or other medical facility, a physician's office, or home for medical treatment or because of illness;
(ii) a driver of a suburban intercity coach or transit type bus, transporting pupils on trips other than between home and school, such as field trips, athletic trips, and other special transportation services;
(iii) a parent who transports exclusively his or her own children; and
(iv) a volunteer driver for a nonpublic school who transports pupils on other than a regularly established route on an occasional basis.
(2) A school bus shall mean every vehicle owned, leased or contracted for by a public school, board of cooperative educational services or a nonpublic school and operated for the transportation of pupils, children of pupils, teachers and other persons acting in a supervisory capacity to or from school or school activities.
(3) A school bus monitor shall mean any person employed for the purpose of assisting children to safely embark and disembark from a school bus which is owned, leased or contracted for by a public school district or board of cooperative educational services, and for the purpose of assisting the school bus driver with maintaining proper student behavior on such school bus.
(4) A school bus attendant shall mean any person who is employed for the purpose of serving pupils with a disabling condition on a school bus which is owned, leased or contracted for by a public school district or board of cooperative educational services.
(5) A nonpublic school shall mean a private or parochial school offering instruction in any or all grades, pre-kindergarten through 12.
(b) School bus driver and instructor qualifications.
(1) Approval for employment. Approval for employment of a school bus driver shall be in writing on a form prescribed by the Commissioner of Education.
(2) Age. All drivers of school transportation conveyances shall be at least 21 years of age.
(3) Physical fitness.
(i) Each driver of a school transportation conveyance shall have the physical and mental ability to operate safely a school transportation conveyance and to satisfactorily perform the other responsibilities of a school bus driver; and shall meet the requirements of section 6.11 of the regulations of the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles (15 NYCRR 6.11) to the extent that such requirements are consistent with the requirements of this subdivision and provided that the vision standards prescribed in section 6.11(b)(10) of the regulations of the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles (15 NYCRR) shall not be waived.
(ii) Each regular or substitute driver of a school bus owned, leased or contracted for by a school district, board of cooperative educational services or a nonpublic school shall be examined by a physician or nurse practitioner to the extent authorized by law and consistent with the written practice agreement pursuant to Education Law, section 6902(3), in accordance with the provisions of this subdivision. The physical examination shall be reported immediately on forms prescribed by the commissioner to the chief school officer of the district. The physical examination shall include, as a minimum, those requirements specified on the prescribed physical examination report. The examining physician or nurse practitioner shall require the school bus driver to undergo any diagnostic tests that are necessary to determine whether the driver has the physical and mental ability to operate safely a school transportation conveyance. Each school bus driver shall receive an annual physical examination, and each driver who is to be initially employed shall be examined within four weeks prior to the beginning of service. In no case shall the interval between physical examinations exceed a 13-month period.
(iii) Each regular or substitute driver of a school bus owned, leased or contracted for by a school district, board of cooperative educational services or nonpublic school shall pass a physical performance test approved by the commissioner, upon recommendation of an advisory group of certified school bus driver instructors, at least once every two years. Additionally, the test shall be administered to any driver following an absence from service of 60 or more consecutive days from his or her scheduled work duties. In no case shall the interval between physical performance tests exceed 24 months.
(a) Except as provided in clause (d) of this subparagraph, the physical performance test shall be conducted by a certified school bus driver instructor and shall assess the driver/applicant's ability to perform the following functions of a school bus driver: repeatedly open and close a manually operated bus entrance door, climb and descend bus steps, operate hand controls simultaneously and quickly, have quick reaction time from throttle to brake, carry or drag individuals in a bus emergency evacuation, repeatedly depress clutch and/or brake pedals, and exit quickly oneself and students from an emergency door.
(b) A driver/applicant who fails any portion of the physical performance test shall be deemed unqualified to operate a school transportation conveyance until a re-examination is passed. Such driver/applicant may request re-examination which shall be administered no sooner than three days from the prior test. The cost of such re-examination shall be borne by the employer if the driver/applicant passes the re-examination, or the driver/ applicant if he or she fails the re-examination.
(c)(1) A school bus driver who is employed by a school district, board of cooperative educational services, or contractor as of September 1, 1997 shall have until July 1, 2000 to take and pass the driver physical performance test. All drivers hired by school districts, boards of cooperative educational services, or contractors after September 1, 1997 shall be required to pass the driver physical performance test before they may transport pupils.
(2) A school bus driver who is employed by a nonpublic school as of January 1, 2005 shall have until January 1, 2008 to take and pass the driver physical performance test. All drivers hired by nonpublic schools after January 1, 2005 shall be required to pass the driver physical performance test before they may transport pupils.
(d) School districts, boards of cooperative educational services, nonpublic schools or transportation contractors may apply to the commissioner for a temporary waiver to permit Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) certified 19A examiners, employed by that carrier, to administer the physical performance test to school bus drivers employed by that carrier. Such waiver may be granted where it is established that there are insufficient certified school bus driver instructors on staff to administer the test in a timely manner. Upon the issuance of such waiver, a certified school bus driver instructor's physical presence shall not be required during the administration of the test, provided that such testing is conducted under the general supervision of a certified school bus driver instructor who is employed by such board of education, board of cooperative educational services, nonpublic school or transportation contractor. Such certified school bus driver instructor shall instruct the DMV certified 19A examiner in the proper administration of the physical performance test and shall review and approve the test results of all physical performance tests administered by the examiner.
(4) Required licenses and certification. Each driver of a motor vehicle conveying school children shall have the appropriate operator's or commercial driver's license to operate such motor vehicle.
(5) Pre-service, safety training, and refresher training for school bus drivers.
(i) Pre-service. Each school bus driver initially employed by a board of education or transportation contractor subsequent to July 1, 1973, or initially employed by a nonpublic school on or after July 1, 2004, shall have received at least two hours of instruction on school bus safety practices. Each driver of a vehicle transporting pupils with disabilities exclusively who is initially employed subsequent to January 1, 1976, or initially employed on or after July 1, 2004 for nonpublic school bus drivers, shall have received an additional hour of instruction concerning the special needs of a pupil with a disability.
(ii)
(ii)(a) During the first year of employment, each driver initially employed by a board of education, board of cooperative educational services or transportation contractor subsequent to July 1, 1973 shall complete a basic course of instruction in school bus safety practices approved by the commissioner, which shall include two hours of instruction concerning the special needs of a pupil with a disability.
(b) During the first year of employment, each school bus driver initially employed by a nonpublic school on or after July 1, 2005 shall complete a basic course of instruction in school bus safety practices approved by the commissioner, which shall include two hours of instruction concerning the special needs of a pupil with a disability. Each school bus driver initially employed by a nonpublic school on or after July 1, 2004 and on or before June 30, 2005, shall complete such course within the first two years of such employment.
(iii) All school bus drivers shall receive a minimum of two hours of refresher instruction in school bus safety at least two times a year, at sessions conducted between July 1st and October 31st and between December 1st and May 1st of each school year. Refresher courses for drivers of vehicles transporting pupils with disabilities exclusively shall also include instruction relating to the special needs of a pupil with a disability.
(iv) Occasional drivers for other than regular routes shall not be required to receive the training specified in this paragraph. For the purposes of this paragraph, occasional driver shall mean a certified teacher employed by a school district or a board of cooperative educational services, who is not primarily employed on either a full-time or part-time basis as a school bus driver or substitute school bus driver.
(v) Except as otherwise provided in clauses (a) and (b) of this subparagraph, all training required in this subdivision shall be provided by, or under the direct supervision of a school bus driver instructor certified by the commissioner. To qualify for certification as a school bus driver instructor (SBDI), individuals shall successfully complete a school bus driver instructor training and evaluation course taught by a certified master instructor. The course shall be approved by the commissioner upon the recommendation of the commissioner's school bus driver instructor advisory committee, an advisory group consisting of at least seven certified school bus driver instructors appointed annually for such purpose by the commissioner. Each person who applies for admission to this course shall be currently employed by a public school district, board of cooperative educational services, nonpublic school or private contractor who is currently providing pupil transportation services for a public school district, nonpublic school or board of cooperative educational services. The SBDI course shall include but shall not be limited to the following content areas: planning and making presentations including lesson plans and objectives, school bus accident statistics and interpretation, effective communications, and evaluation. Each such person shall possess a high school diploma or equivalent diploma and shall have completed the basic course of instruction in school bus safety practices. In addition, each such person shall have completed the Advanced New York State School Bus Driver Training Course or a Department of Motor Vehicles approved Point/Insurance Reduction Program. To maintain certification, school bus driver instructors shall be required to attend the annual professional development seminar (PDS) approved by the commissioner upon the recommendation of the SBDI advisory committee, and taught by a certified master instructor. The PDS shall provide refresher training for all SBDIs in presentation skills, lesson planning, school bus safety techniques, requirements and statistics. The PDS shall provide SBDIs with training materials for the upcoming school year safety training campaign, including information which shall be conveyed to all school bus drivers in the next two driver refreshers.
(a) A certified school bus driver instructor's physical presence shall not be required during training conducted upon initial employment of a school bus driver by a board of education, board of cooperative educational services or transportation contractor, provided that such training is conducted under the general supervision of such an approved instructor.
(vi) Master instructors shall be certified by the commissioner to conduct training programs for individuals to become certified school bus driver instructors, and work in the development of safety training curricula including the development and delivery of the annual professional development seminar. To qualify as a master instructor, an individual must have been a certified school bus driver instructor for at least five years, have demonstrated the ability to teach others the concepts of the school bus safety training program, and meet such other requirements as may be prescribed by the commissioner including, but not limited to possession of a New York State teaching certificate or employment experience in a pupil transportation position in New York State, and satisfactory completion of a mentor/training program or project.
(6) Character requirement. The driver of a vehicle for the transportation of school children shall be of good moral character and thoroughly reliable. At the time of initial application and at such other times as the superintendent of schools, district superintendent of schools, or nonpublic school chief administrator may determine, each applicant for approval for employment as a school bus driver shall furnish to the superintendent or administrator at least three statements from three different persons who are not related either by blood or marriage to the applicant pertaining to the moral character and to the reliability of the applicant.
(c) School bus monitor and attendant qualifications.
(1) Approval for employment. Approval for employment as a school bus monitor or attendant shall be in writing on a form prescribed by the Commissioner of Education.
(2) Age. All school bus monitors and attendants shall be at least 19 years of age.
(3) Physical fitness.
(i) Each school bus monitor and attendant shall have the physical and mental ability to satisfactorily perform his or her duties.
(ii) Each monitor or attendant may be examined on order of the chief school administrator by a duly licensed physician within two weeks prior to the beginning of such monitor's or attendant's service in each school year. The report of the physician, in writing, shall be considered by the chief school administrator in determining the fitness of the monitor or attendant to carry out his or her functions. The examining physician shall require the monitor or attendant to undergo any diagnostic tests that are necessary to determine the physical and mental ability of the monitor or attendant to perform his or her duties.
(iii) Each school bus monitor or attendant of a school bus owned, leased or contracted for by a school district or board of cooperative educational services shall pass a physical performance test approved by the commissioner at least once every two years. Additionally, the test shall be administered to any monitor or attendant following an absence from service 60 or more consecutive days from his or her schedule work duties. In no case shall the interval between physical performance tests exceed 24 months. Individuals employed by a school district, board of cooperative educational services or contractor as a monitor or attendant on July 1, 2003 shall have until July 1, 2004 to take and pass a physical performance test. Individuals hired as a monitor or attendant after July 1, 2003, must take and pass a physical performance test before they may assume their duties.
(a) Except as provided in clause (b) of this subparagraph, the physical performance test shall be administered by a certified school bus driver instructor and shall assess the school bus monitor or attendant's ability to perform his or her duties including, but not limited to, the following functions: climb and descend the bus steps, carry or drag students in a bus emergency evacuation, and exit quickly oneself from an emergency door.
(b) School districts, boards of cooperative educational services, or transportation contractors may apply to the commissioner for a temporary waiver to permit Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) certified 19A examiners, employed by that carrier, to administer the physical performance test to monitors and attendants employed by that carrier. Such waiver may be granted where it is established that there are insufficient certified school bus driver instructors on staff to administer the test in a timely manner. Upon the issuance of such waiver, a certified school bus driver instructor's physical presence shall not be required during the administration of the test, provided that such testing is conducted under the general supervision of a certified school bus driver instructor who is employed by such board of education, board of cooperative educational services or transportation contractor. Such SBDI shall instruct the DMV certified 19A examiner in the proper administration of the physical performance test and shall review and approve the test results of all physical performance tests administered by the examiner.
(c) A school bus monitor or attendant who fails any portion of the physical performance test shall be deemed unqualified to perform the duties of that position. The monitor or attendant may request a re-examination. The cost of such re-examination shall be borne by the employer if the monitor/attendant passes the re-examination, or by the monitor/attendant if he or she fails the re-examination.
(4) Required certifications. Any person employed by a school district, board of cooperative educational services or pupil transportation contractor as a school bus attendant serving pupils with a disabling condition on January 1, 2004, shall have until July 1, 2004 to obtain training and certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation where such skills are required as part of the individualized education plan prepared for the student. Any such person hired after January 1, 2004 shall, prior to assuming their duties as a school bus attendant, obtain training and certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation where such skills are required as part of the individualized education plan prepared for the student. School districts, boards of cooperative educational services or contractors may require monitors or attendants to maintain certification in first aid.
(5) Pre-service, safety training, and refresher training. Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph, each school bus monitor or attendant employed by a board of education, board of cooperative educational services or pupil transportation contractor on July 1, 2003 shall comply with the training requirements of this paragraph no later than July 1, 2004. Individuals hired after July 1, 2003 shall comply with such requirements before assuming their duties on a school bus.
(i) Pre-service instruction. All school bus monitors or attendants shall receive three hours of pre-service instruction as prescribed by the commissioner upon recommendation of the commissioner's school bus driver instructor advisory committee, which shall include, but is not limited to, school bus safety practices, child management techniques, and the proper techniques for assisting children to safely embark and disembark a school bus. In addition to such instruction, any person employed on January 1, 2004 as a school bus monitor, or as a school bus attendant serving pupils with a disabling condition, shall, by July 1, 2004, receive instruction as prescribed by the commissioner upon recommendation of the commissioner's school bus driver instructor advisory committee relating to special needs transportation, including, but not limited to, the proper techniques for assisting disabled students in entering and exiting the school bus. Any person hired after January 1, 2004 shall complete such special needs instruction prior to assuming their duties as a school bus monitor or as a school bus attendant.
(ii) A certified school bus driver instructor's physical presence shall not be required during training conducted upon initial employment of a school bus monitor or attendant by a board of education or transportation contractor, provided that such training is conducted under the general supervision of such certified instructor.
(iii) Specialized training. Each school bus monitor or attendant hired after July 1, 2003 shall complete within their first year of employment basic course of instruction for monitors and attendants. Multiple curricula may be approved for use by the commissioner. Such courses shall provide not less than 10 hours of instruction on a range of topics prescribed by the commissioner upon recommendation of the commissioner's school bus driver instructor advisory committee.
(iv) All school bus monitors and attendants shall receive two two-hour refresher training sessions annually at sessions conducted between July 1st and the first day of school and between December 1st and March 1st of each school year.
(d) Rules affecting pupils.
(1) Drivers, monitors and attendants shall not allow pupils to enter or leave the bus while it is in motion.
(2) Drivers, monitors and attendants are held responsible for reasonable behavior of pupils in transit.
(3) Drivers, monitors and attendants shall not allow pupils to thrust their heads or arms out of open windows.
(4) The driver of a school bus, when discharging pupils who must cross the highway, shall instruct such pupils to cross the highway at a distance of 10 feet in front of the vehicle so as to be in the vision of the driver. The driver shall also keep such school bus halted with red signal lights flashing until such pupils have reached the opposite side of the highway.
(5) Fuel tanks shall not be filled while pupils are in the bus.
(e) Driving rules.
(1) Drivers shall be familiar with the Vehicle and Traffic Law, regulations of the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles and regulations of the Commissioner of Education pertaining to pupil transportation.
(2) Drivers shall make a full stop at all railroad crossings and at State highways before crossing except that no stop need be made at any railroad crossing where a police officer or a traffic control signal or sign directs traffic to proceed.
(3) Drivers shall give warning before making a left-hand or right-hand turn.
(4) Drivers, monitors and attendants shall not leave the school bus when children are inside except in case of emergency, and in such case before leaving the bus the driver shall stop the motor, remove the ignition key, and set the parking brake. Monitors or attendants may leave the school bus for the purposes of assisting children to embark or disembark the vehicle and to safely cross the street. Drivers, monitors and attendants shall check the vehicle to insure that no child is left behind on board unattended at the conclusion of the school bus route.
(5) Drivers, monitors and attendants shall not smoke at anytime while within a school bus. Drivers, monitors and attendants shall not eat or drink any liquid, or perform any act or conduct themselves in any manner which may impair the safe operation of a school bus while such vehicle is transporting pupils.
(6) Drivers shall not exceed a maximum speed limit of 55 miles per hour on any road within or outside of New York State while their school bus is being used for the transportation of pupils.
(f) Drills on school buses.
(1) The drills on school buses required by section 3623 of the Education Law shall include practice and instruction in the location, use and operation of the emergency door, fire extinguishers, first-aid equipment and windows as a means of escape in case of fire or accident. Drills shall also include instruction in safe boarding and exiting procedures with specific emphasis on when and how to approach, board, disembark, and move away from the bus after disembarking. Each drill shall include specific instructions for pupils to advance at least 10 feet in front of the bus before crossing the highway after disembarking. Each drill shall emphasize specific hazards encountered by children during snow, ice, rain, and other inclement weather, including but not necessarily limited to poor driver visibility, reduced vehicular control and reduced hearing. All such drills shall include instruction in the importance of orderly conduct by all school bus passengers with specific emphasis given to student discipline rules and regulations promulgated by each board of education. Such instruction and the conduct of the drills shall be given by a member or members of the teaching or pupil transportation staff. Pupils attending public and nonpublic schools who do not participate in the drills held pursuant to this paragraph shall also be provided drills on school buses, or as an alternative, shall be provided classroom instruction covering the content of such drills.
(2) A minimum of three such drills shall be held on each school bus during the school year, the first to be conducted during the first seven days of school, the second between November 1st and December 31st and the third between March 1st and April 30th.
(3) No drills shall be conducted when buses are on routes.
(4) The school authorities shall certify on the annual report to the State Education Department that their district has complied with this subdivision.
(g) Instruction on use of seat belts. In each school district in which pupils are transported on school buses equipped with seat safety belts, such district shall insure that all pupils who are transported on any school bus owned, leased or contracted for by the district or board of cooperative educational services shall receive instruction on the use of seat safety belts. Such instruction shall be provided at least three times each year to both public and nonpublic school pupils who are so transported and shall include, but not be limited to:
(1) proper fastening and release of seat safety belts;
(2) acceptable placement of seat safety belts on pupils;
(3) times at which the seat safety belts should be fastened and released; and
(4) acceptable placement of the seat safety belts when not in use.
(h) Idling school buses on school grounds.
(1) General provisions.
(i) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subdivision, each school district shall ensure that each driver of a school bus, as defined in Vehicle and Traffic Law, section 142, or other vehicle owned, leased or contracted for by such school district, shall turn off the engine of such school bus or vehicle while waiting for passengers to load or off load on school grounds, or while such vehicle is parked or standing on school grounds or in front of or adjacent to any school.
(ii) School districts shall consider adopting policies which provide for the prompt loading and unloading of individual school buses rather than a policy of waiting for all buses to arrive before loading or unloading.
(2) Exceptions. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (1) of this subdivision and unless otherwise required by State or local law, the idling of a school bus or vehicle engine may be permitted to the extent necessary to achieve the following purposes:
(i) for mechanical work; or
(ii) to maintain an appropriate temperature for passenger comfort; or
(iii) in emergency evacuations where necessary to operate wheelchair lifts.
(3) Driver requirements. Each school district shall ensure that each driver of a school bus shall:
(i) instruct pupils on the necessity to board the school bus promptly in the afternoon in order to reduce loading time;
(ii) whenever possible, park the school bus diagonally in school loading areas to minimize the exhaust from adjacent buses that may enter the school bus and school buildings; and
(iii) turn off the bus engine during sporting or other events.
(4) Notice. Each school district shall annually provide their school personnel, no later than five school days after the start of school, with the notice of the provisions of Education Law, section 3637 and of this section, in a format prescribed and provided by the commissioner to such school districts for dissemination.
(5) Monitoring and reports. Each school district shall periodically monitor compliance with the provisions of this subdivision by school bus drivers and drivers of vehicles owned, leased or contracted for by such school district.
(6) Private vendor transportation contracts. All contracts for pupil transportation services between a school district and a private vendor that are entered into on or after August 21, 2008, shall include a provision requiring such vendor's compliance with the provisions of this subdivision.
Last Updated: June 6, 2012