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Instructor Bulletin 09-29


May 18, 2009

Frequently Asked Questions and Definitions for Vehicle Code Section 545(K) and Assembly Bill 830

The purpose of this bulletin is to provide definitions and answer frequently asked questions regarding implementation of Assembly Bill (AB) 830. This bill amends and/or adds statutes to the California Vehicle Code (VC), Public Utilities Code (PUC), and Education Code (EC), related to the transportation of school pupils to school related activities in vehicles operated by passenger charter party carriers certified by the PUC.

NOTE: Operators of passenger charter party vehicles (limousines) who seek a California Special Driver License endorsed to drive a “school bus” or a “school pupil activity bus” (SPAB), in order to comply with the requirements in AB 830 to transport students on school related activities, must comply with Education Code sections 40080 - 40089.

DEFINITIONS (Vehicle Code)

NOTE: Assembly Bill 830 did not assign a name, such as school bus or school pupil activity bus, to the vehicle defined in the new subdivision (k) of Vehicle Code section 545. The only description or definition of this vehicle lies within the section itself (545[k] VC).


DEFINITIONS (Education Code)

NOTE: The department interprets the Education Code as requiring the curriculum that is taught to either a school bus or SPAB driver, in either an original or renewal setting, as all units of the Department’s Instructor's Manual for California's Bus Driver's Training Course. Instructors must teach all the material in each unit appropriate for the type vehicle (i.e., school bus or SPAB). Material must not be deleted for instruction to drivers of 545(k) VC vehicles.

NOTE: The department interprets the Education Code as requiring the curriculum that is taught to either a school bus or SPAB driver, in either an original or renewal setting, as all units of the Department’s Instructor's Manual for California's Bus Driver's Training Course. Instructors must teach all the material in each unit appropriate for the type vehicle (i.e., school bus or SPAB). Material must not be deleted for instruction to drivers of 545(k) VC vehicles.

Question:

What type of vehicle must be used in the behind-the-wheel training for 545(k) VC vehicle drivers complying with the requirements for a California Special Driver Certificate endorsed to drive a school bus or school pupil activity bus (SPAB)?

The California Education Code requires the department, in this reference it is the Department of Education, to develop or approve courses for training, approve the necessary instructional personnel to conduct the driver training courses, and shall provide for and approve the course outline and lesson plans used in the training of school pupil activity bus (SPAB) and school bus drivers. In addition, all courses of study and training activities required by this article shall be approved by the department and given by, or in the presence of, an instructor in possession of a valid school pupil activity bus (SPAB) or school bus driver instructor certificate of the appropriate class (40081 EC).

Under this authority the department has developed the Instructor's Manual for California's Bus Driver's Training Course containing the mandated instructional material for classroom instruction and the Instructor's Behind-the-Wheel Guide for California's Bus Driver's Training Course for all behind-the wheel instruction.

In the required behind-the-wheel training outlined in the Instructor's Behind-the-Wheel Guide for California's Bus Driver's Training Course the Department has designed the instruction to be provided to the trainee in the specific type of vehicle, (i.e., school bus or SPAB). The Department has always maintained that although the instruction is applicable to many different types of vehicles, the intent of the legislature in the creation of the training statutes contained in the Education Code are to have the instruction provided in the specific type of vehicle the applicant was seeking to be certified and licensed in. Behind-the-wheel training for school bus drivers must be taken in a school bus, and behind-the-wheel training for a SPAB must be taken in a SPAB. Therefore, a limousine which is not certified by the CHP as a school bus or SPAB cannot be used for behind-the-wheel training of school bus or SPAB drivers.

In reference to the language in Education Code Section 40082 for school bus, and Section 40083 for school pupil activity bus behind-the-wheel instruction, in which it is stated, “Applicant behind-the-wheel training shall include driving vehicles comparable to those vehicles that will be driven by the applicant to transport pupils”, the Department defines this section to mean that in addition to the regular school bus or SPAB vehicle in which training is conducted, each instructor or Delegated Behind-the Wheel trainer shall “include” either school buses or SPAB vehicles that are “comparable” to those vehicles that will be driven by the applicant to transport pupils.

The definition of the word include, (“include”, to take in or comprise as a part of a whole: and “compare”, to represent as similar: Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition), as used in the Education Code sections 40082 and 40083, means that the vehicles used in school bus and SPAB behind-the-wheel training and are “comparable” are only required as a part or segment of the total behind-the-wheel training given to the applicant during the minimum 20 hours of required behind-the wheel training.

NOTE: The required training is not available in an “on-line” training format or available as a “home-study” program. All classroom instruction for school bus and school pupil activity bus (SPAB) drivers are required by law to be given by, or in the presence of, a state-certified instructor of the appropriate class and all behind-the-wheel training shall be given by a state-certified instructor of the appropriate class or the delegated behind-the-wheel trainer.

Additional information:

The Greater California Livery Association
8726 S Sepulveda Blvd, Suite 2317
Los Angeles, CA 90045-0082
Phone: 866-392-4252
Fax: 310-943-6582
e-mail us info@gcla.co

California Highway Patrol
Commercial Vehicle Section
444 N. Third Street, Suite 310
Sacramento, CA 95811
916-445-1865

California Department of Motor Vehicles
Driver License Inquires
Department of Motor Vehicles
P.O. Box 942890
Sacramento, CA 94290-0001

California Department of Education
Office of School Transportation
825 Riverside Parkway, Suite 110
West Sacramento, CA 95605
916-375-7100

Questions:   Anna Borges | aborges@cde.ca.gov | 916-375-7100
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