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Lucia Mar USD |  AR  3543  Business and Noninstructional Operations

Transportation Safety And Emergencies   

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Cautionary Notice: Government Code 17581.5 relieves districts from the obligation to perform specified mandated activities when the Budget Act does not provide reimbursement during that fiscal year. The Budget Act of 2015 (AB 93, Ch. 10, Statutes of 2015) extends the suspension of these requirements through the 2015-16 fiscal year. As a result, certain provisions of the following administrative regulation related to the removal of chemicals may be suspended.

Each day, prior to driving a school bus, each school bus driver shall inspect the bus to ensure that it is in safe operating condition and equipped as required by law and that all equipment is in good working order. At the completion of each day's work, the driver shall prepare and sign a written report of the condition of the equipment listed in 13 CCR 1215, including any defect or deficiency discovered by or reported to him/her which would affect safe operation or result in mechanical breakdown of the bus, or indicating that no defect or deficiency was discovered or reported. Any defect or deficiency that would affect safe operation shall be repaired prior to operating the bus. (13 CCR 1215)

(cf. 3540 - Transportation)

(cf. 3541.1 - Transportation for School-Related Trips)

(cf. 3542 - School Bus Drivers)

In the event of a school bus accident, the driver shall immediately notify the California Highway Patrol, the Superintendent or designee, and, if the bus is operated under contract, the driver's employer. The driver shall not leave the immediate vicinity of the bus to seek aid unless necessary. (13 CCR 1219)

The Superintendent or designee shall review all investigations of bus incidents and accidents to develop preventative measures.

(cf. 4112.42/4212.42/4312.42 - Drug and Alcohol Testing for School Bus Drivers)

Passenger Restraint Systems

The Superintendent or designee shall ensure that any school bus or student activity bus which is purchased or leased by the district is equipped with a combination pelvic and upper torso passenger restraint system at all designated seating positions if that bus: (Vehicle Code 27316, 27316.5; 13 CCR 1201)

1. Is a Type 1 school bus manufactured on or after July 1, 2005 which is designed for carrying more than 16 passengers and the driver

2. Is a Type 2 school bus or student activity bus manufactured on or after July 1, 2004 which meets one of the following criteria:

a. Is designed for carrying 16 or fewer passengers and the driver

b. Has a manufacturer's vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less and is designed for carrying not more than 20 passengers and the driver

The Superintendent or designee shall prioritize the allocation of school buses purchased, leased, or contracted to ensure that elementary students receive first priority for new school buses equipped with passenger restraint systems whenever feasible.

When a school bus or student activity bus is equipped with a passenger restraint system, all passengers shall use the passenger restraint system. (5 CCR 14105)

Bus drivers shall be instructed regarding procedures to enforce the proper use of the passenger restraint system. Students who fail to follow instructions of the bus driver may be subject to discipline, including suspension of riding privileges, in accordance with Board policy and administrative regulations.

(cf. 5131.1 - Bus Conduct)

(cf. 5144 - Discipline)

Fire Extinguishers

Each school bus shall be equipped with at least one fire extinguisher located in the driver's compartment which meets the standards specified in law. In addition, a wheelchair school bus shall have another fire extinguisher placed at the wheelchair loading door or emergency exit. All fire extinguishers shall be regularly inspected and serviced in accordance with regulations adopted by the State Fire Marshal. (Education Code 39838; 13 CCR 1242; 19 CCR 574-575.3)

Electronic Communications Devices

A person may not drive a schoolbus or transit vehicle, as defined in subdivision (g) of section 99247 of the Public Utilities Code, while using a wireless telephone. (Vehicle Code 23125)

This section does not apply to a driver using a wireless telephone for work-related purposes, or for emergency purposes, including, but not limited to, an emergency call to a law enforcement agency, health care provider, fire department, or other emergency service agency or entity.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a violation of subdivision (a) does not constitute a serious traffic violation within the meaning of subdivision (i) of Section 15210.

(Vehicle Code 23123.5)

A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while holding and operating a handheld wireless telephone or an electronic wireless communications device unless the wireless telephone or electronic wireless communications device is specifically designed and configured to allow voice-operated and hands-free operation, and it is used in that manner while driving.

This section shall not apply to manufacturer-installed systems that are embedded in the vehicle.

A handheld wireless telephone or electronic wireless communications device may be operated in a manner requiring the use of the driver's hand while the driver is operating the vehicle only if both of the following conditions are satisfied:

The handheld wireless telephone or electronic wireless communications device is mounted on a vehicle's windshield in the same manner a portable Global Positioning System (GPS) is mounted pursuant to paragraph (12) of subdivision (b) of Section 26708 or is mounted on or affixed to a vehicle's dashboard or center console in a manner that does not hinder the driver's view of the road.

The driver's hand is used to activate or deactivate a feature or function of the handheld wireless telephone or wireless communications device with the motion of a single swipe or tap of the driver's finger.

A violation of this section is an infraction punishable by a base fine of twenty dollars ($20) for a first offense and fifty dollars ($50) for each subsequent offense.

This section does not apply to an emergency services professional using an electronic wirelss communications device while operating an authorized emergency vehicle, as defined in Section 165, in the course and scope of his or her duties.

For the purposes of this section, "electronic wireless communications device" includes, but is not limited to, a broadband personal communications device, a specialized mobile radio device, a handheld device or laptop computer with mobile data access, a pager, or a two-way messaging device.

Safe Bus Operations

School buses and student activity buses shall not be operated whenever the number of passengers exceeds bus seating capacity, except when necessary in emergency situations which require that individuals be transported immediately to ensure their safety. (Education Code 39834)

School bus operations shall be limited when atmospheric conditions reduce visibility on the roadway to 200 feet or less during regular home-to-school transportation service. Bus drivers for school activity trips may discontinue bus operation whenever they determine that it is unsafe to continue operation because of reduced visibility. (Vehicle Code 34501.6)

Unauthorized Entry

The Superintendent or designee may place a notice at bus entrances that warns against unauthorized entry. The driver or another school official may order any person to disembark if that person enters a bus without prior authorization. (Education Code 39842; 13 CCR 1256.5)

(cf. 3515.2 - Disruptions)

Transportation Safety Plan for Boarding and Exiting Buses

The Superintendent or designee shall develop a transportation safety plan containing procedures for school personnel to follow to ensure the safe transport of students. The plan shall include all of the following: (Education Code 39831.3)

1. Procedures for determining if students in grades prekindergarten through 8 require an escort to cross a private road or highway at a bus stop pursuant to Vehicle Code 22112

2. Procedures for all students in grades prekindergarten through 8 to follow as they board and exit the bus at their bus stops

3. Procedures for boarding and exiting a school bus at a school or other trip destination

4. Procedures to ensure that a pupil is not left unattended on a schoolbus.

5. Procedures and standards for designating an adult chaperone, other than the driver, to accompany pupils on a school pupil activity bus.

A copy of the plan shall be kept at each school site and made available upon request to the California Highway Patrol. (Education Code 39831.3)

Parental Notifications

The Superintendent or designee shall provide written safety information to the parents/guardians of all students in grades prekindergarten through 6 who have not previously been transported in a school bus or student activity bus. This information shall be provided upon registration and shall contain: (Education Code 39831.5)

1. A list of school bus stops near each student's home

2. General rules of conduct at school bus loading zones

3. Red light crossing instructions

4. A description of the school bus danger zone

5. Instructions for safety while walking to and from school bus stops

Student Instruction

Students who are transported in a school bus or student activity bus shall receive instruction in school bus emergency procedures and passenger safety as follows: (Education Code 39831.5; 5 CCR 14102)

1. Each year, all students who receive home-to-school transportation in a school bus shall be provided appropriate instruction in safe riding practices and emergency evacuation drills.

2. At least once each school year, all students in grades prekindergarten through 8 who receive home-to-school transportation shall receive safety instruction which includes, but is not limited to:

a. Proper loading and unloading procedures, including escorting by the driver

b. How to safely cross the street, highway, or private road

c. In school buses with passenger restraint systems, instruction in the use of such systems as specified in 5 CCR 14105, including, but not limited to, the proper fastening and release of the passenger restraint system, acceptable placement of passenger restraint systems on students, times at which the passenger restraint systems should be fastened and released, and acceptable placement of the passenger restraint systems when not in use

d. Proper passenger conduct

e. Bus evacuation procedures

f. Location of emergency equipment

As part of this instruction, students shall evacuate the school bus through emergency exit doors. Instruction also may include responsibilities of passengers seated next to an emergency exit.

Each time the above instruction is given, the following information shall be documented:

a. District name

b. School name and location

c. Date of instruction

d. Names of supervising adults

e. Number of students participating

f. Grade levels of students

g. Subjects covered in instruction

h. Amount of time taken for instruction

i. Bus driver's name

j. Bus number

k. Additional remarks

This documentation shall be kept on file at the district office or the school for one year and shall be available for inspection by the California Highway Patrol.

3. Before departing on a school activity trip, all students riding on a school bus or student activity bus shall receive safety instruction which includes, but is not limited to, the location of emergency exits and the location and use of emergency equipment. This instruction also may include responsibilities of passengers seated next to an emergency exit.

Legal Reference:


39830-39842 Transportation, school buses

51202 Instruction in personal and public health and safety


241.3 Assault against school bus driver

243.3 Battery against school bus driver


415 Definition of motor vehicle

545-546 Definition of school bus and student activity bus

22112 Loading and unloading passengers

23123 Use of wireless telephone prohibited while driving motor vehicle

23123.5 Text communications prohibited while driving motor vehicle

23125 Use of wireless telephone prohibited while driving school bus

27316-27316.5 Passenger restraint systems

34500 California Highway Patrol responsibility to regulate safe operation of school buses

34501.5 California Highway Patrol responsibility to adopt rules re: safe operation of school buses

34501.6 School buses; reduced visibility

34508 California Highway Patrol responsibility to adopt rules re: equipment and operations of school buses


14100-14105 School buses and student activity buses


1200-1293 Motor carrier safety

2480 Airborne toxic control measure; limitation on bus idling


574-575.3 Inspection and maintenance of fire extinguishers


571.1-571.500 Motor vehicle standards, including school buses

Management Resources:


California Association of School Business Officials:

California Association of School Transportation Officials:

California Department of Education, Office of School Transportation:

California Highway Patrol:

National Coalition for School Bus Safety:

National Transportation Safety Board:

U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:


approved: June 20, 2017 Arroyo Grande, California