Student Transportation

Alan Schmitt, ARM-P – Area Vice President Loss Control

 

In the climate of reduced budgets and a shortage of bus drivers, districts are looking for innovative methods to transport students.  The following guidelines should be followed when considering alternative transportation methods.

Vehicles Used For Transportation

Under federal and state guidelines, any vehicle used to transport students with a rated occupancy of  more than 10 passengers, including the driver, must be a  yellow school bus and meet all Missouri Minimum Standards for School Buses and all Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards for School Buses

This means that a school district cannot purchase, contract, or rent any vehicle with a rated occupancy of more than 10 to transport students unless it is a motor coach and meets the Missouri definition for motor coach.  (reclining seats, restroom, air conditioning, etc)

Driver Qualifications

Under most circumstances, a bus driver, teacher, coach or school staff member who transports students as part of their employment responsibilities must meet minimum specified state guidelines.  These guidelines vary depending on the type of vehicle used to transport students.

School Bus Drivers—

  • In Missouri all school bus drivers must be a minimum age of twenty-one. In addition, all school bus drivers must possess a current and valid CDL license with the “S” endorsement.
  • All school bus drivers must receive an annual physical examination. Bus drivers employed by the school district are required to obtain the annual physical by anyone licensed in Missouri to perform physical examinations.  Any bus driver who is employed by a contracted service, who drives more than Home-School routes, must obtain the DOT physical.
  • A driver who is over 70 years of age must renew their driver’s license annually and are required to submit proof of a school bus skills test to retain the S endorsement on their driver license at time of renewal.
  • All school bus drivers must receive eight hours of documented training on an annual basis.
  • All school bus drivers must participate in a drug and alcohol testing program.

 Other Employees Who Transport in Non-School Buses— (Vehicles which have an occupancy rating of 10 or less)

All other school employees who are required to transport students as part of their employment on a routine basis must possess a Class E license with the “S” endorsement.

Non-School Bus Drivers—

  • These drivers must receive eight hours of documented training on an annual basis.
  • These drivers must receive an annual physical examination by anyone licensed in Missouri to perform physical examinations.

This does not apply to school district staff that transport students on an emergency or incidental basis.  Incidental is interpreted as transporting students in an unexpected one time per year basis.

Any driver who possesses an out of state license can only transport students if their state will issue a Class E license with an “S” endorsement.

If your district is considering using or currently using non-school bus vehicles (Occupancy rating of 10 or less) the following guidelines must be considered:

  • These vehicles are not exempt from the child restraint regulations and laws
  • The driver is responsible to ensure all occupants are properly wearing the seat belts and all occupant restraint devices.

Best Practices

The follow best practices should be considered for all drivers:

  • An annual MVR (Motor Vehicle Records) check should be completed on all drivers who transport students.
  • Proof of insurance should be obtained from all staff who transport in private vehicles.
  • The use of cell phone while operating the vehicle should be prohibited.
  • Consider placing all Non-School Bus drivers in a drug and alcohol testing program. (A separate pool from your CDL drivers).
  • All Drivers should participate in the “Smarter Adults Safer Children” training.

See Table Below

School District

Use Non-School Bus Vehicles