The National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation is urging school districts nationwide to only transport students in school buses rather than in vans that do not conform to federal standards for school bus safety.
NASDPTS issued the position on December 5th is response to an increasing number of questions asked by local schools on the legality and cost of the issue. In 2005, Congress attempted to close a loophole by prohibiting dealerships from selling or leasing to schools newly manufactured 11- to 15- passenger vans, including the driver, that are not built to federal standards for school buses or multifunction school activity buses.
Still, school districts and especially private and charter schools are using the vehicles, which NASDPTS called “a significant issue.” One of the biggest issues is the cost to replace the vans with school buses that adhere to standards for safety. The paper by NASDPTS concludes that schools opting for what they consider to be less expensive non-conforming vans are doing so at risk of putting themselves in legal jeopardy. States have different laws as what kind of vehicle they can use, what form of signage they can use, and what they can use the vehicle for.
Before you purchase a vehicle for a school, check with your state and local laws.
Have a safe and Happy New Year !!!