The purpose of this bulletin is to answer frequently asked questions regarding proper documentation. These are some of the most frequently asked questions in our industry:
- A driver is ready to renew the special driver certificate and has several Form T-01 cards, how do I handle this?
You may create and sign a new T-01 card after transferring the information from the various cards keeping them in your files. This will assist the California Highway Patrol (CHP) School bus Officer/Coordinator (SBO/C) and insure all training requirements have been met. Or, you may send all of the cards to the CHP with the driver for testing after making copies.
- How do I verify in-service hours if I was not present?
Your role is to determine if the training was appropriate (directly related to passenger safety and driver training bus driving), that instruction was given, received, and retained by the driver, and the amount of time to credit. It will usually take a combination of things to make the determination; sign in sheet, program, certificate, etc., verbal or written test on the subject, discussion with the driver, conversation with the program presenter may all be sued to verify the information.
- The driver is in the last training period and a mistake was made on the Form T-01, what do I do?
Create a new form T-01 card, transfer the information, sign the new card, and attach the voided card to the copy of the new card.
- After transferring information from an old Form T-01 card(s) to a new Form T-01 card(s) what date does the driver use when he/she signs?
They would use the actual date they signed the new card. The original signatures and dates can be found on the original cards if needed.
- A driver has requested their Form T-01 card to seek employment in another part of the state do I just give it to him/her?
After closing out the Form T-01, the instructor will sign in the appropriate categories, with or without the driver's signature, and will send the Form T-01 to the new employer (if necessary you can give the Form T-01 to the driver).
NOTE: It is the recommendation of the California Department of Education (CDE) that instructors should make copies prior to releasing the Form T-01 to the driver.
- I only have a copy of a driver's Form T-01 card, the original was lost, destroyed, etc. how do I proceed?
If at all possible verify the information on the copy with the instructor that signed the card, try to obtain the T-02 or other supporting documents, when you are satisfied the information is correct, then create a new card keeping the backup information in the file.
- I have requested a new driver's Form T-01 card from their previous employer and they refuse to send it to me, can they do that?
Carriers are reminded they have an obligation to forward the Form T-01 upon request. The card is the property of the State and can be physically and personally recovered by a state agency, i.e., the CDE or the CHP.
- A driver renewed five months before the certificate expired and has received additional in-service time, where do I document this training?
The hours are not documented on any Form T-01 card, the old card has already been completed and given to the CHP, and the new training period will not start until the day after their birthday. You could record the time on a T-02 in such a way it will not show up on the new training period by accident.
- Should the signatures be in black or blue ink?
It is recommended signatures be in blue ink, with today's copy machines it is sometimes impossible to tell a copy from an original signature when using black ink.
- I have a driver that is an Emergency Medical Technician and receives many more than 10 hours of first aid training each year, does that satisfy the training requirement?
First consider why the annual in-service for drivers is required. The intent is to maintain a high level of awareness by the driver of safety related information to be the safest driver on the road. While first aid is important there are other elements to being a safe school bus driver. As the employer certain standards of training requirements can be established. However to be fair if limits are placed on the type of training that will be accepted this should be done before the fact not after. Establish a policy that explains the guidelines of receiving in-service.
- Drivers consistently come to me and demand they be provided in-service training because the end of the training period is approaching, must I drop everything to accommodate them?
The driver has the responsibility by law to maintain their required training hours. There is no requirement that the employer provide those hours. The employer is only required to maintain the records to ensure all drivers are current. Certainly there should be some cooperation and consideration given between the employer and the drivers for the needed training, however if the drivers choose not to avail themselves of training opportunities then it should become their responsibility to obtain the required training.
- We have several certified instructors in our operation; can one instructor sign for training given by other instructors?
A certified instructor may sign for any training that meets the requirements of the Education Code regardless of who did the training. However, the signing instructor has an obligation to insure the accuracy of the information on the Form T-01 card. Refer to the Training Definitions for explanations of the various types of training.
- We have several Form T-01 cards that have been signed by an instructor that has retired and is no longer available. These cards must be re-done for a variety of reasons do I have to track down the original instructor to sign the cards?
No, transfer the information to a new card, sign in the appropriate boxes, and have the driver sign and date the new card. Keep the replaced Form T-01 card with the copy of the new Form T-01 card.
- Is there a difference between competency and proficiency?
Yes, proficiency refers to the requirements stated in the California Code of Regulations, Title 13 Section 1229. We use competency to acknowledge the completion of a particular skill as instructed from the Behind-the-Wheel Guide. If the Form T-02 is used to document both cases you may use a coding system in the column provided or add a separate column. The proficiency information should be available to staff making assignments of drivers and vehicles, and may be kept as a separate log. This information must also be available to the CHP during terminal inspections.
- Is there a time limit between the start of training and the testing?
No, there is no requirement or limitation on the elapsed time for training and testing. However, it would seem impractical to stretch the training out for an extended period of time before testing. There is a 12-month calendar that begins when the application is completed at the CHP and ends when certification is completed. If the 12 months expires the applicant will have to reapply and pay the fees over again.
- A delegated trainer without any vehicle limitations works under an instructor who has a vehicle limitation, such as restricted to automatic transmission. Can the instructor who is restricted sign a Form T-01 card for training conducted by the delegated trainer who is un-restricted?
There is no vehicle limitation placed on the certified instructors' ability to document a Form T-01 card. As long as the instructor does not have a documentation restriction on their certificate they may sign for any and all training on the Form T-01 card.
- How do I document make-up time on my own instructor Form T-01?
You would document make-up time in the month and training period that the make up time was instructed. This is also the case for documenting make-up training received by a driver. Document the make-up training received in the month and training period it was received.
- When and to whom do I send my instructor Form T-01?
Upon renewal of your California Special Driver Certificate you have 30 days to forward your original (no copies) Form T-01 to the California Department of Education, Office of School Transportation, 825 Riverside Parkway, Suite 110, West Sacramento, CA 95605.
- How do I split the box on the Form T-01 to reflect training received after a driver's birthday and training received prior to their next birthday (both received within the month of their birthday)?
You can split the box in such a way that you can document both training received immediately following the birthday, along with training received immediately prior to the driver's next birthday.
- Can a state certified School Pupil Activity Bus (SPAB) instructor conduct Original or Renewal Classroom Instruction for School Bus Drivers if they use the School Bus Curriculum from the California Department of Education's Classroom Manual?
No. Classroom instruction must be conducted by or in the presence of a State Certified Instructor of the appropriate class. "Appropriate class" in this case would be a state certified school bus instructor with Instructional Limitations of either "A" or "C".
- I am a state certified school bus instructor. Can I use the time I spent instructing SPAB, Transit, or Farm Labor Original or Renewal Classroom or Behind-the-Wheel as my minimum 10 hours Classroom and 10 hours BTW as required by Education Code Section 40089?
No. Although a state certified school bus instructor can instruct in all other certification classes, he/she must instruct the minimum 20 hours (10 Original or Renewal Classroom and 10 BTW) in the area in which they received their instructor certification (School Bus, SPAB, Transit, Farm Labor).
- Can a SPAB instructor sign a Form T-01 for school bus driver hours?
No. The signing instructor must be able to actually instruct in that classification. The SPAB instructor in question has the ability to sign for SPAB, Transit, and Farm Labor hours, but not School Bus. The following instructors can document in the following classifications:
- School bus instructor: School Bus, SPAB, Transit, Farm Labor
- SPAB instructor: SPAB, Transit, Farm Labor
- Transit instructor: Transit, Farm Labor
- Farm Labor: Farm Labor only
- Is there a requirement that Original and/or Renewal classroom be conducted strictly in a classroom type setting?
In order to be documented as classroom instruction, the curriculum taught must be from the Instructor's Manual for California's School Bus Driver's training Course. It must also be a regularly scheduled Original or Renewal Class. There is, however, no restriction on the location or setting of the class.
- I have a difficult time obtaining my classroom instruction hours. Can I teach a relative (or any other type of acquaintance) at their home or other setting in order to successfully meet the instructional requirements of Education Code Section 40089?
As long as you instructed the class using the curriculum provided within the Education Code, the time would be documented as classroom instructional time.
- If a delegated behind-the-wheel trainer is providing instruction to an applicant, are they (delegated behind-the-wheel trainer) eligible to receive training time?
No, a delegate behind-the-wheel trainer is a driver and must receive time for the retention of the California Special Certificate, per Education Code Section 40085.
- What instructional category of the Department of Education's Training Certificate Form T-01 would I document the time spent preparing a delegated behind-the-wheel trainer applicant, per Education Code Section 40084.5?
All of the time spent preparing an applicant to become a delegated behind-the-wheel trainer shall be documented on a separate (not the current driver's Form T-01) Department of Education Training Certificate Form T-01 in the Behind-the-Wheel or In-Service instructional category (this includes both instruction given to or from the applicant to the state certified instructor) to be submitted to the CDE, OST, upon application to become a delegated behind-the-wheel trainer.
NOTE: This time can also be documented separately on the driver's current Department of Education Training Certificate Form T-01.
- Can a delegated behind-the-wheel trainer prepare an applicant to become a delegated behind-the-wheel trainer per Education Code Section 40084.5?
No, only a state certified instructor of the appropriate class may prepare an applicant to be certified by the California Department of Education, Office of School Transportation.
- When a state certified instructor is sending their Department of Education Training Certificate Form T-01 card in during their renewal year, do they have to sign all of the signature categories (including the driver's signature category)?
Yes, you must sign all of the signature categories.
- If an instructor is teaching a renewal class and they teach additional units (which are not required to retain a California Special Driver Certificate) which instructional category would those hours (units not required) be documents?
You would document those units (which are not required for the retention of the California Special Certificate) in instructional category A-Classroom training on the Department of Education Training Certificate Form T-01. This time is not documents as in-service hours because you are instructing a renewal class regardless of the additional units being taught.
- Is the word "applicant" as defined in Education Code considered to be an original or a renewal driver?
Education Code sections 40080-40090.5 refers to an applicant as both an original and renewal driver.
- If a state certified instructor fails to comply with Education Code Section 40089, "Minimum hours of instruction to be conducted; limitations on type of instruction; documentation of instructor training" what steps should be taken by the instructor and/or motor carrier?
If a state certified instructor is delinquent in their required training hours, the following steps must be taken:
- The motor carrier shall notify the deficiency to the CHP, SBO/C within 10 days, per California Code of Regulations, Title 13, Section 1236(b).
- The state certified instructor shall also notify the California Department of Education, Office of School Transportation for not complying with Education Code Section 40088(e)(1).
- If an applicant has applied to attend the Bus Driver instructor Training Program in West Sacramento CA and the applicant has a preventable (chargeable) accident within the proceeding three years, would the applicant be disqualified form attending the program?
Yes, an applicant is considered to be "an applicant" until the moment they graduate and receive their instructor identification number. This would include the following three applicant phases:
- Application has been submitted to the CDE, OST for approval.
- Application has been approved by CDE, OST and you are awaiting attendance to the training program.
- You are currently attending the training program.
Questions regarding this instructor bulletin may be directed to the Department of Education, Office of School Transportation at 916-375-7100.