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Pupil Transportation Driver Qualifications


Pupil Transportation (other than schoolbus): Driver Qualifications program information in compliance with California Education Code (EC) sections 39875 through 39882, to assist school districts, transportation agencies, and school transportation operators in providing the safest and most efficient transportation services for their passengers and customers.

Senate Bill 88 (Chapter 380, Statutes of 2023) External link opens in new window or tab. was signed by the Governor on October 7, 2023. SB 88 amended California Education Code (EC) sections 39875 through 39882, relating to pupil transportation.

The following frequently asked questions (FAQs) are intended to provide assistance over the requirements for a local educational agency (LEA) contracting with a private entity, other than a school bus carrier, to provide pupil transportation services.

Pupil Transportation (other than schoolbus): Driver Qualifications FAQ

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  1. Who is exempt from these requirements?

    Pursuant to Education Code (EC) 39875 (b) and (c) identifies the following drivers and/or persons who are exempt:

    1. Nothing in this article shall be construed to apply to a driver employed by any of the following:
      1. A municipally owned transit system offering supplementary service.
      2. A congregate care facility licensed by the State Department of Social Services.
      3. A county human services agency.
      4. An entity, excluding entities with a primary purpose of providing transportation services, serving pupils experiencing homelessness that is coordinated with the homeless continuum of care in counties that have one or otherwise designated to serve children who are homeless by a county without a continuum of care.
      5. A county probation agency.
      6. Another government agency, other than a local educational agency.
      7. A foster family agency, as defined in paragraph (4) of subdivision (a) of Section 1502 of the Health and Safety Code.
      8. A tribal authority.
    2. Nothing in this article shall be construed to apply to any of the following persons who are compensated to drive a pupil:
      1. A parent or relative as defined in paragraph (2) of subdivision (c) of Section 361.3 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, or a nonrelative extended family member as defined in Section 362.7 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.
      2. A guardian.
      3. A caregiver given temporary or permanent custody of the pupil by a court, child welfare agency, tribal authority, or county probation department.
      4. A court-appointed educational rights holder.
      5. A court-appointed special advocate.
      6. A pupil who drives themself.
  1. Are school district employees exempt from the requirements when providing transportation on field trips or athletic trips?

    Yes. Pursuant to EC 39875 (d)(1)(2), if the local educational agency (LEA) makes a reasonable effort to secure a driver who meets the requirements and the LEA is unable to secure such driver, the LEA shall notify the parent/guardian that the driver does not meet the requirements (unless that notice will jeopardize a pupil’s privacy) then a school employee may provide transportation, not to exceed 40 hours of drive time per school year, per employee.

  1. What are the requirements of a driver in a vehicle with a maximum capacity of 10 or fewer?
    1. Hold a valid California driver’s license for the appropriate class of vehicle.
    2. Be at least 18 years of age.
    3. Pass a criminal background check, including fingerprint clearance consistent with Section 45125 for employees and Section 45125.1 for all other compensated drivers.
    4. Have a satisfactory driving record that includes none of the following:
      1. Within three years, has committed any violation that results in a conviction assigned a violation point count of two or more, as defined in Sections 12810 and 12810.5 of the Vehicle Code.
      2. Within three years, has had their driving privilege suspended, revoked, or on probation for any reason involving the unsafe operation of a motor vehicle.
      3. Has been determined by the Department of Motor Vehicles to be a negligent or incompetent operator.
    5. Not have demonstrated irrational behavior to the extent that a reasonable and prudent person would have reasonable cause to believe that the driver’s ability to perform the duties of a driver may be impaired.
    6. Not have been convicted of an offense listed in paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 13370 of the Vehicle Code, paragraph (5) of subdivision (a) of Section 13370 of the Vehicle Code, or subdivision (b) of Section 13370 of the Vehicle Code.
    7. Provide their employer or the private entity contracting with the local educational agency a report showing the driver’s current public record as recorded by the Department of Motor Vehicles and participate in the Department of Motor Vehicles’ pull-notice system.
    8. Be subjected to and comply with drug and alcohol testing consistent with Section 34520.3 of the Vehicle Code, subject to the cannabis discrimination limitations described in Section 12954 of the Government Code.
    9. (9) (A) Complete a medical examination not more than two years prior to the driver performing pupil transportation by a physician licensed to practice medicine, a licensed advanced practice registered nurse qualified to perform a medical examination, a licensed physician assistant, or a licensed doctor of chiropractic listed on the most current National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners, as adopted by the United States Department of Transportation. The driver shall provide a copy of the Medical Examiner’s Certificate, Form MCSA-5876, or the medical examiner’s certificate of clearance to their employer or the private entity contracting with the local educational agency. Neither the driver nor the medical examiner need to submit this examination result to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

      (B) The driver shall complete a medical examination pursuant to this paragraph every two years after the initial examination and provide a copy of the Medical Examiner’s Certificate, Form MCSA-5876, or the medical examiner’s certificate of clearance to their employer or the private entity contracting with the local educational agency.

      (C) Within the same month of reaching 65 years of age and each 12th month thereafter, the driver shall undergo a medical examination pursuant to this paragraph and provide a copy of the Medical Examiner’s Certificate, Form MCSA-5876, or the medical examiner’s certificate of clearance to their employer or the private entity contracting with the local educational agency.

    1. Submit and clear a tuberculosis risk assessment consistent with Section 49406.
    2. Not drive for more than 10 hours within a work period, or after the end of the 16th hour after coming on duty following eight consecutive hours off duty.
    3. Complete initial training and subsequent required training sufficient to gain proficiency in all of the following:
      1. Pretrip vehicle inspections.
      2. Safe loading and unloading of passengers.
      3. Proper use of seatbelts and child safety restraints.
      4. Handling accidents, incidents, and emergency situations.
      5. Providing proper accommodations for pupils with disabilities.
      6. Defensive driving.
      7. Operations in inclement weather.
      8. Operations at night or under impaired visibility conditions.
    4. Maintain a daily log sheet and complete the daily pretrip inspection of the vehicle being driven that day, which shall include all of the following:
      1. A check of the operability of all lights, initialed by the driver before the vehicle is first driven in service that day.
      2. A check for fluid leaks, initialed by the driver before the vehicle is first driven in service that day.
      3. A check for the operability of the brakes, initialed by the driver before the vehicle is driven in service that day.
    5. Complete training at least equivalent to the American Red Cross first aid training program, or hold a valid and current first aid certificate issued by the American Red Cross or by an organization whose first aid training program is at least equivalent to the American Red Cross’ first aid training program, as determined by the Emergency Medical Services Authority.
      1. For vehicles with a maximum capacity of eight or fewer passengers, excluding the driver, only street-legal coupes, sedans, or light-duty vehicles, including vans, minivans, sport utility vehicles, and pickup trucks, shall be used for pupil transportation.
      2. Nothing in this article shall limit any additional safety or training requirements that may be imposed by the Public Utilities Commission, a local educational agency, or any government agency.
  2. What are the requirements of a driver in a vehicle with a capacity of 10 or more?

    Pursuant to EC Section 39878 , the following are the requirements for a driver who provides transportation to 10 or more passengers:

    1. Hold a valid California commercial driver’s license for the appropriate class of vehicle, endorsed for passenger transportation pursuant to Section 15278 of the Vehicle Code.
    2. Comply with paragraphs (2) to (14), inclusive, of subdivision (a) of Section 39877 if they are not already required to by law.
    3. This article shall not reduce other legal requirements placed on any driver who provides transportation services for pupils in a vehicle with a capacity of more than 10 persons, including, but not limited to, a driver of a schoolbus or school pupil activity bus.
  3. What size first aid kit is required in my vehicle?

    Pursuant to EC 39879(c)(2), any vehicle used to provide pupil transportation shall be equipped with a first aid kit. The size of the first aid kit is at the discretion of the employer except for Schoolbus, Youth Bus, Farm Labor Vehicles and General Public Paratransit Vehicle (GPPV), the requirements are listed in the California Code of Regulations, Title 13 (13 CCR), 1243.

  4. What size fire extinguisher is required in my vehicle?

    Pursuant to EC 39879(c)(2), any vehicle used to provide pupil transportation shall be equipped with a fire extinguisher. Pursuant to 13 CCR 1242, every motor vehicle or combination of vehicles (except those otherwise specified) shall be equipped with one fully charged fire extinguisher having at least a 4B:C rating.

  5. Do documentation records require a carrier to utilize a Form T-01 and T02 to document training for their drivers?

    No, there are no specific requirements identified in the statute on the type of documentation paperwork that shall be used to document training. The State Department of Education Training Certificate T-01 and T-02 are specific to California Special Certificate holders of a Schoolbus, SPAB, Farm Labor Vehicle, and Youth Bus (b).

  6. Is there a deadline for implementation?

    Yes. Pursuant to EC 39882, January 1, 2024, unless a local educational agency (LEA) and private entity entered into a contract before January 1, 2024, this shall not apply until the expiration or renewal of that contract, all provisions of the bill would be implemented by July 1, 2025.

  7. Can these drivers be entered into the same pool as our schoolbus drivers for drug and alcohol testing?

    No. Noncommercial drivers do not have the same federal drug and alcohol testing requirements as Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) holders. Noncommercial drivers will need to be tested in a separate pool than CDL holders.

  8. Do these requirements apply to certificated personnel (i.e. teachers, principals, nurses, etc.)?

    Yes, pursuant to EC 39875(a).

  9. Does a driver require 8 hours off to reset their work period?

    Yes, pursuant to EC 39877(11).

  10. Are these mandated costs reimbursable to the LEA?

    Are these mandated costs reimbursable to the LEA?Please refer to the following CDE web page regarding Home-To-School Transportation Reimbursement: Home-to-School Transportation Reimbursement - Transportation (CA Dept of Education).

  11. Do these requirements apply to instructional aides, physical therapists, assistants who drive students to/from therapy appointments?

    Yes, pursuant to EC 39881(d).

  12. Do these requirements apply to Volunteer Drivers?

    Yes, pursuant to EC 39875.

  13. Do these requirements apply to childcare motor vehicles?

    Yes, pursuant to EC 39881(e).

Questions:   Pupil Transportation(other than schoolbus):Driver Qualifications | Office of School Transportation | PTDQ@cde.ca.gov
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, March 20, 2024
Recently Posted in Transportation
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    Pupil Transportation (other than schoolbus): Driver Qualifications program information in compliance with California Education Code (EC) sections 39875 through 39882, to assist school districts, transportation agencies, and school transportation oper