The Department of Public Safety has the primary responsibility for school transportation safety. The Office of Pupil Transportation Safety is created as a section under the Division of State Patrol. The commissioner shall designate a director of pupil transportation.
The duties of the pupil transportation safety director include:
(1) overseeing all department activities related to school bus safety;
(2) assisting in the development, interpretation, and implementation of laws and policies relating to school bus safety, in consultation with a stakeholder group consisting of, but not limited to, representatives of the school board association, school superintendents, private bus contractors, directors of transportation, school bus employees or their exclusive bargaining representatives, and parent organizations;
(3) supervising preparation of the School Bus Inspection Manual;
(4) in conjunction with the Department of Education and the stakeholder group described in clause (2), assisting school districts in developing and implementing comprehensive transportation policies and establishing best practices for private contracts;
(5) developing and maintaining a consistent record-keeping system to document school bus inspections, out-of-service school transportation vehicles, driver turnover rate, and driver files; and
(6) conducting periodic audits of selected school districts to determine compliance with federal law and state statute concerning (i) school bus driver requirements and driver employee background and license checks, including controlled substance and alcohol testing requirements; and (ii) duty to report violations to the commissioner of public safety. Audit results must be documented and retained by the Office of Pupil Transportation Safety, and any statutory violations documented in the audit must be reported to the commissioners of public safety and education.
In addition to the pupil transportation safety director, who must be a state trooper, the Office of Pupil Transportation Safety must be staffed by a minimum of:
(1) three state troopers, each of whom must be assigned to the metropolitan area, northern Minnesota, or southern Minnesota; and
(2) 15 school bus vehicle inspectors, one of whom must be designated chief inspector. The school bus vehicle inspectors shall perform annual and spot inspections of school buses and Head Start buses as required by law.