Good afternoon, NASDPTS members,

NASDPTS remains active in monitoring federal issues and advocating for student transportation safety. This past week saw a couple significant actions of interest to our members and other pupil transportation professionals.

As discussed by Larry Minor of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) at our conference in Kansas City, the FMCSA this weekend published its long-awaited final rule establishing the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. The Clearinghouse will comprise a database containing information about violations of FMCSA’s drug and alcohol testing requirements by commercial drivers, including school bus drivers. On or after the compliance date of January 6, 2020, employers must query the system to determine whether current and prospective employees have incurred a disqualifying drug or alcohol violation. School districts and contractors will be required to search the database information during the pre-employment process. Under current drug and alcohol regulations, employers must seek any history of violations manually from previous employers whenever they have reason to believe an applicant has previously been in a position requiring a CDL. The new rule will also require a query at least once a year for current employees.  The final rule can be found here.

Last Thursday, NASDPTS and other safety partners testified at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) meeting, “School Transportation Safety—Thinking Outside the Bus.”  NHTSA Administrator, Dr. Mark R. Rosekind, convened the meeting to expand on the agency’s commitment to student transportation safety under his leadership, and to follow-up on the previous discussions in July and November 2015, and in March of this year. NHTSA’s recent project with the American School Bus Council coalition provides an effective backdrop and reminds parents and communities about the unparalleled safety of the yellow school bus.  The hallmark of the student transportation community is that we do not rest on our laurels, however, and the purpose of last week’s meeting was to explore ways of “Moving Toward Zero,” with regard to student transportation fatalities.

The archived meeting webcast can be viewed here. NASDPTS, NAPT, and NSTA presented a coordinated message that reminded NHTSA that illegal passing of school buses remains the greatest vulnerability to student school bus riders. The NASDPTS portion of the remarks can be downloaded here. As part of our joint remarks, we encouraged the agency to develop a national campaign to tackle this problem. We were encouraged by Dr. Rosekind’s closing remarks, in which he committed the agency to doing just that. NASDPTS will, of course, keep members informed and involved as this campaign evolves.

Please let us know if you have any questions or comments. We extend our best wishes to all of you, your colleagues, and your families during the 2016 holiday season and beyond.

Sincerely,

Charlie Hood, Executive Director