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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 20-23



Physical Requirements for School Bus Drivers

[50 Pa.B. 130]
[Saturday, January 4, 2020]

 The Department of Transportation (Department) seeks to clarify the requirements for a person to be physically qualified to drive a school bus in this Commonwealth. A health care provider shall assess whether a school bus driver is able to perform the functions of a school bus driver.

 In addition to the requirements outlined in 67 Pa. Code § 71.3 (relating to physical examination), it is the Department's intent to clarify the requirements school bus drivers must meet.

 Specifically, § 71.3 states:

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(b) Requirements of physical examination. A person is physically qualified to drive a school bus if the person:

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(3) Has no impairment of:

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(ii) One of the following:
(A) An arm, foot, or leg likely to impair the ability to perform normal tasks associated with driving a school bus.
(B) Another significant limb defect or limitation likely to impair the ability to perform normal tasks associated with driving a school bus.
(C) Has been granted a waiver by the Department after competency has been demonstrated through a driving examination.

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 When evaluating a school bus driver under § 71.3, the Department would like to further clarify what ''the ability to perform normal tasks associated with driving a school bus'' means. A school bus driver should be able to satisfactorily perform the following activities demonstrating the school bus driver meets the intent of § 71.3:

 1. Walk around a school bus. A school bus in this Commonwealth has a maximum length of 45 feet and width of 102 inches. A driver should be able to satisfactory walk at least 107 feet without problem.

 2. Bend to check underneath the bus unassisted by any medical apparatus. The bottom of a school bus chassis is typically 3 feet off the ground.

 3. Climb and descend the school bus steps. School bus steps are generally 12—16 inches high for each step and are normally three steps high.

 4. While using the right foot only, alternate between the service brake and accelerator. Be able to have strength and flexibility to operate all controls with hands and feet.

 5. Hold the service brake (the main brake on the bus) with the right foot with 40—60 lbs. of force for 60 seconds.

 6. Move quickly and easily from the driver's seat, through the aisle and exit the rear emergency exit of the school bus. The aisle of a school bus has a minimum clearance of 11 3/4 inches wide. Most school buses have a typical aisle clearance of 15 inches.

 School bus drivers are responsible for the safe transportation of the Department's most precious cargo, the children. It is imperative that every school bus driver is physically capable of not only safely operating the school bus, but also performing critical safety functions in the event of an emergency while operating that school bus. It is the Department's hope that the clarifications contained within this document provide all the health care providers performing a school bus physical examination with additional guidance when determining a school bus driver's physical ability to operate a school bus.

 Questions about this guidance or the physical standards for school bus drivers in general can be directed to the Department's School Bus Unit, (717) 787-6453, Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4:15 p.m.

Acting Secretary

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 20-23. Filed for public inspection January 3, 2020, 9:00 a.m.]

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