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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

Chapter 169

Section 169.4503

Recent History

169.4503 Additional Minnesota school bus body standards.

Subdivision 1. Relation to national standards. The bus body standards contained in this section are required in addition to those required by sections 169.4501 and 169.4502. When a Minnesota standard contained in this section conflicts with a national standard adopted in section 169.4501, the Minnesota standard contained in this section is controlling.

Subd. 2. Back-up warning alarm. An automatic audible back-up alarm may be installed. A spring-loaded button in the driver's compartment that will temporarily disable the back-up alarm is allowed for usage in school bus overnight parking lots and repair facilities.

Subd. 3. Repealed, 1Sp1997 c 4 art 12 s 34

Subd. 4. Certification. A body manufacturer, school bus dealer, or certified Minnesota commercial vehicle inspector who is also an employee of an organization purchasing a school bus shall provide preliminary certification to the Department of Public Safety that the product meets Minnesota standards. Final certification will be granted within 30 days upon reinspection by the Department of Public Safety.

Subd. 5. Colors and reflective materials. Fenderettes may be black. The beltline may be painted yellow over black or black over yellow. The rub rails shall be black. The reflective material on the sides of the bus body shall be at least one inch but not more than two inches in width. This reflective material requirement and the requirement that "SCHOOL BUS" signs have reflective material as background are effective for buses manufactured after January 1, 1996.

Subd. 6. Communications. All buses manufactured after January 1, 1995, shall have a two-way voice communications system.

Subd. 7. Floor construction. The metal floor shall be covered with plywood. The plywood shall be at least 19/32 inches thick, and must equal or exceed properties of exterior-type softwood plywood, grade C-D, as specified in product standard PSI-I83 issued by the United States Department of Commerce. The floor shall be level from front to back, and side to side, except in wheel housing, toe board, and driver's seat platform areas.

Subd. 8. Repealed, 1Sp1997 c 4 art 12 s 34

Subd. 9. Repealed, 1Sp1997 c 4 art 12 s 34

Subd. 10. Fire extinguisher. The bus must be equipped with at least one UL-approved pressurized, dry chemical fire extinguisher with a total rating of 2A10BC or greater.

Subd. 10a. First aid kit and body fluids cleanup list. A first aid kit, and a body fluids cleanup kit is required regardless of the age of the vehicle. They must be contained in removable, moisture- and dust-proof containers mounted in an accessible place within the driver's compartment of the school bus and must be marked to indicate their identity and location.

Subd. 11. Repealed, 1Sp1997 c 4 art 12 s 34

Subd. 12. Repealed, 1Sp1997 c 4 art 12 s 34

Subd. 13. Identification. (a) Each bus shall, in the beltline, identify the school district serviced, or company name, or owner of the bus. Numbers necessary for identification must appear on the sides and rear of the bus. Symbols or letters may be used on the outside of the bus near the entrance door for student identification. A manufacturer's nameplate or logo may be placed on the bus.

(b) Effective December 31, 1994, all buses sold must display lettering "Unlawful to pass when red lights are flashing" on the rear of the bus. The lettering shall be in two-inch black letters on school bus yellow background. This message shall be displayed directly below the upper window of the rear door. On rear engine buses, it shall be centered at approximately the same location. Only signs and lettering approved or required by state law may be displayed.

Subd. 14. Insulation. (a) Ceilings and walls shall be insulated to a minimum of 1-1/2 inch fiberglass and installed so the insulation does not compact or sag. Floor insulation must be nominal 19/32 inches thick plywood, or a material of equal or greater strength and insulation R value that equals or exceeds properties of exterior-type softwood plywood, C-D grade as specified in standard issued by the United States Department of Commerce. Type A-II buses must have a minimum of one-half inch plywood. All exposed edges on plywood shall be sealed. Every school bus shall be constructed so that the noise level taken at the ear of the occupant nearest to the primary vehicle noise source shall not exceed 85 dba when tested according to procedures in the 1995 National Standards for School Buses and School Bus Operations.

(b) The underside of metal floor may be undercoated with polyurethane floor insulation, foamed in place. The floor insulation must be combustion resistant. The authorization in this paragraph does not replace the plywood requirement.

Subd. 15. Interior speakers. Interior speakers, except in the driver's compartment, must not protrude more than one-half inch from the mounting surface.

Subd. 16. Lamps and signals. (a) Each school bus shall be equipped with a system consisting of four red signal lamps designed to conform to SAE Standard J887, and four amber signal lamps designed to that standard, except for color, and except that their candlepower must be at least 2-1/2 times that specified for red turn-signal lamps. Both red and amber signal lamps must be installed in accordance with SAE Standard J887, except that each amber signal lamp must be located near each red signal lamp, at the same level, but closer to the centerline of the bus. The system must be wired so that the amber signal lamps are activated only by hand operation, and if activated, are automatically deactivated and the red signal lamps are automatically activated when the bus entrance door is opened. Signal lamps must flash alternately. Each signal lamp must flash not less than 60 nor more than 120 flashes per minute. The "on" period must be long enough to permit filament to come up to full brightness. There must be a pilot lamp which goes on when the respective amber or red system is activated. The pilot lamp must either go out or flash at an alternate rate in the event the system is not functioning normally. The signal lamp system must include a closed control box. The box must be as small as practical, and must be easily dismounted or partially disassembled to provide access for maintenance purposes. The control panel box shall be arranged such that the momentary activating switch for the eight-lamp warning system shall be located on the left, the red (or red and amber) pilot light shall be located in the middle, and the eight-way master switch shall be located on the right. The control box must be securely mounted to the right of the steering wheel, within easy unobstructed reach of the driver. Switches and pilot lamp must be readily visible to the driver. The activating switch may be self-illuminated. Other warning devices or lamp controls must not be placed near the lamp control. The stop arm shall extend automatically whenever the service entrance door is opened and the eight-way lights are activated.

(b) If installed, a white flashing strobe shall be of a double flash type and have minimum effective light output of 200 candelas. No roof hatch can be mounted behind the strobe light.

(c) Type B, C, and D buses shall have an amber clearance lamp with a minimum of four candlepower mounted on the right side of the body at approximately seat-level rub rail height just to the rear of the service door and another one at approximately opposite the driver's seat on the left side. These lamps are to be connected to operate only with the regular turn-signal lamps.

(d) All lamps on the exterior of the vehicle must conform with and be installed as required by federal motor vehicle safety standard number 108, Code of Federal Regulations, title 49, part 571.

(e) A type A, B, C, or D school bus manufactured for use in Minnesota after December 31, 1994, may not be equipped with red turn-signal lenses on the rear of the bus.

Subd. 17. Mirrors. After January 1, 1995, all school buses must be equipped with a minimum of two crossover mirrors, mounted to the left and right sides of the bus.

Subd. 18. Overall width. The overall width limit excludes mirrors, mirror brackets, and the stop arm.

Subd. 19. Rub rail. There shall be one rub rail at the base of the skirt of the bus on all type A, excluding van conversions, B, C, and D buses.

Subd. 20. Seat and crash barriers. All restraining barriers and passenger seats shall be covered with a material that has fire retardant or fire block characteristics. All seats must face forward. All seat and crash barriers must be installed according to and conform to federal motor vehicle safety standard number 222, Code of Federal Regulations, title 49, part 571.

Subd. 21. Stop-signal arm. The stop-signal arm shall be installed near the front of the bus.

Subd. 22. Repealed, 1Sp1997 c 4 art 12 s 34

Subd. 23. Windows. Windshield, entrance, and rear emergency exit doors must be of approved safety glass. Laminated or tempered glass (AS-2 or AS-3) is permitted in all other windows. All glass shall be federally approved and marked as provided in section 169.74. The windshield may be of uniform tint throughout or may have a horizontal gradient band starting slightly above the line of vision and gradually decreasing in light transmission to 20 percent or less at the top of the windshield. The use of tinted glass, as approved by section 169.71, is permitted on side windows and rear windows except for the entrance door, the first window behind the service door, and the window to the left of the driver. The window to the left of the driver, the upper service door windows, and the window immediately behind the entrance door must be thermal glass. The window to the left of the driver for type A buses need not be thermal glass.

Subd. 24. Wiring. If a master cutoff switch is used, it shall not be wired as to kill power to the electric brake system.

Subd. 25. Driver compartment. The driver's seat must be a high-back seat.

HIST: 1994 c 647 art 12 s 37; 1Sp1995 c 3 art 2 s 34; 1Sp1997 c 4 art 12 s 18-27; 1Sp2003 c 9 art 1 s 45