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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

Chapter 171

Section 171.321

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171.321 QUALIFICATIONS OF SCHOOL BUS DRIVER.
    Subdivision 1. Endorsement. No person shall drive a school bus when transporting school
children to or from school or upon a school-related trip or activity without having a valid class A,
class B, or class C driver's license with a school bus endorsement except that a person possessing a
valid driver's license but not a school bus endorsement may drive a vehicle with a seating capacity
of ten or less persons used as a school bus but not outwardly equipped or identified as a school bus.
    Subd. 2. Rules. (a) The commissioner of public safety shall prescribe rules governing
the physical qualifications of school bus drivers and tests required to obtain a school bus
endorsement. The rules must provide that an applicant for a school bus endorsement or renewal is
exempt from the physical qualifications and medical examination required to operate a school
bus upon providing evidence of being medically examined and certified within the preceding
24 months as physically qualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle, pursuant to Code of
Federal Regulations, title 49, part 391, subpart E, or rules of the commissioner of transportation
incorporating those federal regulations. The commissioner shall accept physical examinations for
school bus drivers conducted by medical examiners authorized as provided by Code of Federal
Regulations, title 49, chapter 3, part 391, subpart E.
(b) The commissioner of public safety, in conjunction with the commissioner of education,
shall adopt rules prescribing a training program for Head Start bus drivers. The program must
provide for initial classroom and behind-the-wheel training, and annual in-service training. The
program must provide training in defensive driving, human relations, emergency and accident
procedures, vehicle maintenance, traffic laws, and use of safety equipment. The program must
provide that the training will be conducted by the contract operator for a Head Start agency, the
Head Start grantee, a licensed driver training school, or by another person or entity approved by
both commissioners.
    Subd. 3. Records check of applicant. (a) Before issuing or renewing a school bus
endorsement, the commissioner shall conduct a criminal history and driver's license records check
of the applicant. The commissioner may also conduct the check at any time while a person is
so licensed. The check must consist of a criminal history check of the state criminal records
repository and a check of the driver's license records system. If the applicant has resided in
Minnesota for less than five years, the check must also include a national criminal history
check. The commissioner shall accept the national criminal history check request and the
fingerprints of the applicant and is authorized to exchange fingerprints with the Federal Bureau
of Investigation and request the Federal Bureau of Investigation to conduct a criminal history
check. The applicant's failure to cooperate with the commissioner in conducting the records
check is reasonable cause to deny an application or cancel a school bus endorsement. The
commissioner may not release the results of the records check to any person except the applicant
or the applicant's designee in writing.
(b) The commissioner may issue to an otherwise qualified applicant a temporary school bus
endorsement, effective for no more than 180 days, upon presentation of (1) an affidavit by the
applicant that the applicant has not been convicted of a disqualifying offense and (2) a criminal
history check from each state of residence for the previous five years. The criminal history check
may be conducted and prepared by any public or private source acceptable to the commissioner.
The commissioner may reissue the temporary endorsement if the national criminal records
repository check is timely submitted but not completed within the 180-day period.
    Subd. 4. Training. (a) No person shall drive a class A, B, C, or D school bus when
transporting school children to or from school or upon a school-related trip or activity without
having demonstrated sufficient skills and knowledge to transport students in a safe and legal
manner.
(b) A bus driver must have training or experience that allows the driver to meet at least
the following competencies:
(1) safely operate the type of school bus the driver will be driving;
(2) understand student behavior, including issues relating to students with disabilities;
(3) encourage orderly conduct of students on the bus and handle incidents of misconduct
appropriately;
(4) know and understand relevant laws, rules of the road, and local school bus safety policies;
(5) handle emergency situations; and
(6) safely load and unload students.
(c) The commissioner of public safety shall develop a comprehensive model school bus driver
training program and model assessments for school bus driver training competencies, which are
not subject to chapter 14. A school district may use alternative assessments for bus driver training
competencies with the approval of the commissioner of public safety. The employer shall keep the
assessment for the current period available for inspection by representatives of the commissioner.
    Subd. 5. Annual evaluation and license verification. (a) A school district, nonpublic
school, or private contractor shall provide in-service training annually to each school bus driver.
(b) A school district, nonpublic school, or private contractor shall annually verify the validity
of the driver's license of each employee who regularly transports students for the district in a
type A school bus, a type B school bus, a type C school bus, or type D school bus, or regularly
transports students for the district in a type III vehicle with the National Driver Register or with
the Department of Public Safety.
History: 1971 c 644 s 16; 1975 c 265 s 1; 1985 c 291 s 23; 1987 c 379 s 2; 1989 c 140 s
13; 1990 c 529 s 9; 1993 c 57 s 1; 1994 c 483 s 1; 1994 c 603 s 17; 1994 c 647 art 12 s 29-32;
1Sp1995 c 3 art 2 s 42-44; art 16 s 13; 1996 c 275 s 12; 1997 c 187 art 3 s 25; 1Sp1997 c 4 art 12
s 31; 2000 c 489 art 6 s 33-36; 2001 c 98 s 1; 2002 c 321 s 2; 1Sp2003 c 9 art 1 s 48; art 10 s
13; 2004 c 206 s 29; 2004 c 294 art 2 s 31