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NO. 32. AN ACT RELATING TO SCHOOL BUSES.

(S.56)

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1. 23 V.S.A. 4(34) is amended to read:

*[(34) "Type I school bus" means any motor vehicle with motor power, except a trailer, used to carry pupils for school purposes and is designed to carry more than 15 passengers including the operator. This definition includes vehicles that are at any time used to carry school children and school personnel exclusively, and does not include vehicles that only carry school children along with other passengers as part of the operations of a common carrier.]*

*["Type II school bus" means any motor vehicle used to carry pupils for school purposes and is designed to carry 15 passengers or less including the operator, except a private motor vehicle used to carry members of the owner's household. However, a private motor vehicle]*

*[(A) used to carry pupils without compensation shall not be considered a Type II school bus. For the purpose of this subdivision, compensation shall mean payment in any form except that it shall not include reimbursement for mileage or the normal salary or compensation paid to a person otherwise employed by the school;]*

*[(B) carrying up to 15 pupils inclusive for compensation, including a private motor vehicle leased or otherwise provided to a school on a single trip basis to provide transportation to or from an athletic event or special field trip or a private motor vehicle leased or otherwise provided to a school for 10 days or less, shall be subject to all Type I school bus safety and equipment standards, except:]*

*[(1) Those requirements prescribed in subdivisions (a)(2) and (a)(3) of section 1283 of this title,]*

*[(2) The aisle or door requirement prescribed in subdivision (8)(A) of section 1281 of this title, and]*

*[(3) The rear door requirement prescribed in subdivision (1) of section 1281 of this title; provided, that if no rear door is present, there shall be one additional door, operable from inside the vehicle, located to the rear of the operator.]*

*[(C) carrying up to six persons for compensation need only display an identification sign as prescribed in section 1283(a)(1) of this title, and be equipped with a simple system of at least two red alternating warning lights;]*

(34)(A) "School bus" means any motor vehicle with a manufacturer’s rated seating capacity of 11 or more passengers, including the operator, used to transport children to or from school or in connection with school activities, except:

(i) buses operated by common carriers who incidentally accept school children as passengers;

(ii) private motor vehicles used to carry members of the owner’s household. For the purposes of this section, private motor vehicle means a vehicle neither owned nor leased by a public school or an approved independent school;

(iii) private motor vehicles used to transport children without compensation. For the purposes of this section, compensation means payment in any form except reimbursement for mileage or the normal salary paid to a person otherwise employed by the school.

(B) "Type I school bus" means a school bus designed to transport more than 15 passengers, including the operator.

(C) "Type II school bus" means a school bus designed to transport more than 10 and less than 16 passengers, including the operator.

(D) A private motor vehicle designed to transport more than 10 and fewer than 16 passengers, including the operator, for compensation, including vehicles leased or otherwise provided to a school on a single trip basis to provide transportation to or from an athletic event or special field trip or provided to the school for 10 days or fewer, shall be subject to all Type I school bus safety and equipment standards, except:

(i) The requirements of subdivisions (a)(2) and (3) of section 1283 of this title,

(ii) The aisle or door requirement of subdivision (8)(A) of section 1281 of this title, and

(iii) The rear door requirement of subdivision (1) of section 1281 of this title.If no rear door is present, there shall be one additional door, operable from inside the vehicle, located to the rear of the operator.

(E) A private vehicle carrying fewer than 11 persons, including the operator, for compensation need only display an identification sign as prescribed in section 1283(a)(1) of this title, and be equipped with a simple system of at least two red alternating warning lights;

Sec. 2. 23 V.S.A. 1072(a) is amended to read:

(a) The driver of any motor vehicle carrying passengers for hire except for jitneys designed to carry not more than seven passengers including the driver, of any school bus *[or other motor vehicle for hire transporting any school child]* or of any vehicle carrying explosive substances or flammable liquids as a cargo or part of a cargo, before crossing at grade any track or tracks of a railroad, shall stop within fifty feet, but not less than fifteen feet, from the nearest rail of the railroad and while so stopped shall look and listen in both directions along the track for any approaching train and for signals indicating the approach of a train and may not proceed until he can do so safely. After stopping as required herein and upon proceeding when it is safe to do so the driver of any said vehicle shall cross so that there will be no necessity for changing gears while traversing the crossing, and the driver may not shift gears while crossing the track or tracks.

Sec. 3. 23 V.S.A. 1222 is amended to read:

1222. INSPECTION OF REGISTERED VEHICLES

Except for school buses which shall be inspected as prescribed in section 1282 of this title and *[passenger common carriers,]* motor buses as defined in section 4(17) which shall be inspected twice during the calendar year at six-month intervals, all motor vehicles registered in this state shall be inspected once each year *[except that any]*. Any motor vehicle, trailer or semi-trailer not currently inspected in this state shall be inspected within 15 days from the date of its registration in the state of Vermont. The inspections shall be made at garages or qualified service stations, designated by the commissioner as inspection stations, for the purpose of determining whether those motor vehicles are properly equipped and maintained in good mechanical condition. The charges for suchinspections made by garages or qualified service stations designated to conduct periodic inspections shall be subject to the approval of the commissioner *[of motor vehicles, and]*.

If a fee is charged for inspection, it shall be based upon the hourly rate charged by each official inspection station or it may be a flat rate fee and in either instance the fee shall be prominently posted and displayed beside the official inspection station certificate. A person shall not operate a motor vehicle unless it has been inspected as required by this section and has a valid certification of inspection affixed to it. The month of next inspection for all motor vehicles shall be shown on the current inspection certificate affixed to the vehicle.

Sec. 4. 23 V.S.A. 1283(a) is amended to read:

(a) *[Type I]* Types I and II school buses shall be:

(1) identified with the words, "School Bus", printed in letters not less than eight inches high, located between the warning signal lamps as high as possible without impairing visibility of the lettering from both front and rear;

(2) painted national school bus glossy yellow, except that the hood shall be either that color or lusterless black and the fenders shall be either that color or black. For Type II school buses, the requirements of this subsection and subdivision (a)(3) of this section shall apply to any new bus ordered on or after January 1, 2000;

(3) equipped with bumpers of glossy black, unless for increased night visibility they are covered with a reflective material;

(4) equipped with a system of signal lamps approved by the commissioner, including an eight light system on any new or used school bus ordered on and after July 1, 1976. The driver of a Type I or a Type II school bus shall keep the alternately flashing red signal lamps lighted whenever school children are being received or discharged, and they shall be used only for that purpose. A school bus driver found in violation of this subdivision shall be guilty of a traffic violation; *[and]*

(5)(A) equipped with a system of mirrors, if such a system is necessary to give the seated driver a view of the roadway to each side of the bus, and of the area immediately in front of the front bumper, in accordance with the following procedure:

When a rod, 30 inches long, is placed upright on the ground at any point along a traverse line 1 foot forward of the forward most point of a school bus, and extending the width of the bus, at least 7 1/2 inches of the length of the rod shall be visible to the driver, either by direct view or by means of an indirect visibility system.

(B) In addition, equipped with an inside mirror so located as to give the driver clear vision of the interior of the bus, and an outside mirror located on each side of the bus located so as to give an unobstructed view of the road to the rear; and

(6) in compliance with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards for school buses as of the date of manufacture.

Sec. 5. 23 V.S.A. 1286 is amended to read:

1286. PENALTIES

Any violation of sections 1283, 1284 or 1285 of this title shall be a traffic *[offense]* violation as defined in chapter *[23]* 24 of this title.

Sec. 6. 23 V.S.A. 4103(18) is amended to read:

(18) "Out-of-service order" means a declaration by the Federal Highway Administration or an authorized enforcement officer of a federal, state, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Canadian, Mexican or local jurisdiction, that a driver, or a commercial motor vehicle, or a school bus, or a motor carrier operation, is out-of-service.

Sec. 7. GRANDFATHERED VEHICLES

Notwithstanding any other provision of this act, any school bus lawfully in operation as of the effective date of this act may continue to operate until July 1, 2007, provided it is maintained in good mechanical condition, and is properly inspected.

Approved: May 13, 1997