Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

 

Raised Bill No. 5032

February Session, 2010

 

LCO No. 514

 

*00514_______TRA*

Referred to Committee on Transportation

 

Introduced by:

 

(TRA)

 

AN ACT TO IMPROVE THE SAFETY OF SCHOOL BUS TRANSPORTATION.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 14-275 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) The term "school bus" means any motor bus painted, constructed, equipped and registered as hereinafter provided, which is regularly used for transporting school children to and from school or school activities whether or not for compensation or under contract to provide such service. No vehicle shall be registered as a school bus unless it complies with all requirements of sections 14-275 to 14-281, inclusive, as to color, markings, equipment and inspection, and each such vehicle shall be inspected prior to such registration in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles. The commissioner or the commissioner's designee [may] shall also conduct random, unannounced inspections of any registered school bus. Any school bus that transports individuals in wheelchairs shall meet the requirements of subsection (e) of section 14-100a in order to pass inspection. The provisions of said sections requiring other vehicles to stop at the signal of the operator of a registered school bus shall not apply to a signal by the operator of any vehicle not registered as a school bus and not complying with all requirements for such registration.

(b) Each school bus shall be painted a uniform yellow color known as "National School Bus Glossy Yellow", except for the fenders and trim which may be painted black and the roof which may be painted white, and shall have conspicuously painted on the rear and on the front thereof, in black lettering of a size to be determined by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles, the words "School Bus-Stop on Signal", except that each school bus equipped with an eight-light warning system shall have the words "School Bus" painted on the rear and on the front thereof in such lettering. The sides of such vehicles may be inscribed with the words "School Bus", the school name or such other legend or device as may be necessary for purposes of identification or safety. Each school bus shall have conspicuously painted on the rear and sides of such vehicles, in black lettering of a size to be determined by the commissioner, the name of the school bus company, the school bus company's telephone number, [and] the school bus number, and commencing January 1, 2011, the telephone number at the Department of Motor Vehicles where unsafe or illegal operation of a school bus may be reported. The department shall notify the appropriate school bus company of such report and shall investigate each such report.

(c) Each school bus shall be equipped with special automatic, electrically-operated flashing stop signals, which shall be independent and separate from the braking, stop and tail lights of standard equipment. Such flashing lights may include automatic traffic signalling devices showing red and amber lights and shall be so located that adequate warning will be afforded to both oncoming and overtaking traffic, except that each school bus manufactured on and after October 1, 1984, and registered for use in this state shall be equipped with an eight-light warning system, showing two red flashing stop signals and two amber flashing warning signals on the front and rear of the bus, and a stop semaphore. The commissioner may adopt standards for an eight-light warning system and standards and specifications for the construction of school buses and for equipment to be maintained on school buses consistent with the provisions of sections 14-275 to 14-281, inclusive. Both public and private owners of school buses shall maintain a record of such kinds of repairs made to such buses as the commissioner may require and such work record shall be available at all times to the commissioner and the commissioner's designated assistants. All such maintenance records shall be retained for a period of two years. Each school bus shall be equipped with emergency lighting equipment as provided by section 14-97a, with a defrosting device as provided by section 14-97, with a system of mirrors as provided in the Code of Federal Regulations Title 49, Section 571.111, as amended, or with an outside mirror as provided by section 14-99 and a system of crossover mirrors designed and mounted so as to give the driver a view of the road from the front bumper forward to a point where direct observation is possible and along the left and right sides of the bus, with a signalling device as provided by section 14-101, and with chain nonskid devices for immediate use on at least one outside or inside rear tire on each side or tires designed to prevent skidding on all rear wheels when weather and highway conditions require such use. Commencing February 1, 1974, each new school bus with a vehicle air brake system shall be so equipped that the brake system is operated from a separate air reservoir tank other than the air reservoir tank used to operate any other compressed air or vacuum operated devices with which the school bus may be equipped. The seating requirements of section 14-273 shall be observed. Notwithstanding the provisions of section 14-98, school buses may be equipped with tires incorporating a metal nonskid device during the period from October fifteenth to April thirtieth, inclusive. Each school bus that is model year 2007 or newer shall be equipped with a crossing control arm mounted on the right end of the front bumper. The commissioner shall establish additional standards and requirements for such devices in regulations adopted in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54.

(d) Any person who violates any provision of this section shall, for a first offense, [be deemed to have committed an infraction, and for each subsequent offense shall] be fined not less than one hundred dollars nor more than five hundred dollars, and for each subsequent offense, shall be fined not less than five hundred dollars nor more than one thousand dollars.

Sec. 2. Section 14-275c of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) The Commissioner of Motor Vehicles [may] shall, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, make, alter or repeal regulations governing the inspection, registration, operation and maintenance of school buses and the licensing of the operators of such vehicles. Such regulations shall incorporate the requirements of 49 CFR 383.123 regarding the qualifications of each applicant for an endorsement to operate a school bus, issued in accordance with the provisions of section 14-44.

(b) The commissioner shall adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, governing (1) the inspection, registration, operation and maintenance of motor vehicles used by any carrier to transport children requiring special education, and (2) the licensing of operators of such vehicles. A person who has attained the age of seventy shall be allowed to hold a license endorsement for the purpose of operating a motor vehicle to transport children requiring special education provided he meets the minimum physical requirements set by the commissioner and agrees to submit to a physical examination at least twice a year or when requested to do so by the superintendent of the school system in which he intends to operate such vehicle.

(c) Any person who violates any provision of any regulation adopted pursuant to this section shall, for a first offense, [be deemed to have committed an infraction] be fined not less than one hundred dollars nor more than five hundred dollars, and for each subsequent offense shall be fined not less than [one hundred] five hundred dollars nor more than [five hundred] one thousand dollars.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

from passage

14-275

Sec. 2

from passage

14-275c

Statement of Purpose:

To improve the safety of school bus transportation.

[Proposed deletions are enclosed in brackets. Proposed additions are indicated by underline, except that when the entire text of a bill or resolution or a section of a bill or resolution is new, it is not underlined.]