The Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRCC) has issued comments seeking consistency and clarification to amendments proposed by the Department of Transportation (PennDOT) to its regulations for school bus drivers that update the minimum standards for drivers diagnosed with a brain disease, cognitive impairment or a mental or emotional disorder. The proposed changes are based on recommendations from the Department’s Medical Advisory Board that reflect current medical practices and standards. The proposed amendments to Pa. Code Title 67, Chapter 71 add definitions and disqualifying symptoms for individuals, as well as outline the requirements for restoration of driving privileges.
The proposal also authorizes PennDOT to require qualifying drivers to pass a school bus knowledge and skills test. Provisions are added to allow for a waiver to be granted provided the individual remains symptom free and in the treating health care provider’s opinion, the individual has stabilized and no symptoms are likely to recur. School bus drivers diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia in Stage 3 or greater are prohibited from driving a school bus.
There are approximately 46,000 licensed school bus operators in Pennsylvania, and approximately 31,000 school buses operating in the state. Roughly 75% of these are operated by bus companies; 25% by school districts.
The comments and proposed amendments are attached. Contact Judy Shopp at [email protected] or 412.242.4400 with any questions.