Safety training experts are breaking down how new federal regulations will change school transportation safety and training compliance, then how to be prepared.
With school districts and transportation contractors across the U.S. bracing for new federal regulations that will set new bus driver training standards and establish new reporting requirements for transportation directors, experts at School Bus Safety Co., Inc., North America’s premier school bus safety and training company, have broken down the new regulations, to better explain them and lay out five things to know.
WHAT: The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) is a new federal transportation reauthorization bill aimed at helping the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities involving large trucks and buses. The provisions are meant to improve commercial motor vehicle safety by supporting three core principles:
- Raise the bar to enter the industry
- Hold drivers to the highest safety standards
- Remove the highest risk drivers and vehicles from operation
WHO: Every location that trains large truck and bus drivers must comply with MAP-21 and be registered with the FMCSA. Drivers who currently have the license and endorsement they need are grandfathered into compliance. However, those who need to change class or endorsement must meet the new regulations.
WHEN: MAP-21 was signed into law in 2012 by President Obama, and funding began rolling out in fiscal years 2013 and 2014 for administrative expenses and grant programs. Stakeholder groups met in 2015 and 2016, to discuss new regulations and how they should be carried out; those final rulings were established in 2017 and 2018.
The new federal regulations require transportation training compliance to be ready by February 7, 2020. This phase-in period is intended to give states enough time to modify their information systems, begin offering the training and start recording training certification.
WHY: The regulation was created to standardize training, including the topics required, hazard identification and mitigation, and to require training locations to register with the FMCSA that they are in compliance with the new training standards. Previously, the Department of Transportation set federal guidelines for commercial driver’s licenses (CDL), but states dictated their own recertification requirements.
Similarly, state Boards of Education provided an overview of training topics to be covered with school bus drivers, but school districts often forged their own way with different processes, trainings and requirements. Now the standardization will start at the national level, to ensure that drivers and passengers are safe.
HOW: MAP-21 outlines three components for compliance for the school bus transportation industry:
- Entry-level driver training is required for both new drivers and existing drivers who are changing their CDL class or endorsement.
- The safety management system is the new safety regulatory framework that will focus on organization-wide safety policies at the training locations.
- The trainer provider registry will be a database of training providers that teach the new MAP-21 curriculum for particular licenses and endorsements, and can certify drivers that meet eligibility requirements under the new training provisions.
“MAP-21 is going to change the way that school districts, contractors and transportation professionals approach pupil transportation, with new compliance standards and refined regulations on safety and training measures,” stated Chris Walls, head of SBSC. “The new rules put in a standard minimum across all states but what really matters is the quality of the training and the outcomes. The SBSC team looks forward to working with more districts and contractors on getting compliant with the new rules, as this a great opportunity to raise the bar for safety in school bus transportation.”
To learn more about SBSC or to purchase training videos from their catalogue, please visit: http://www.schoolbussafetyco.com
About School Bus Safety Company, Inc.
The experts at the School Bus Safety Company, Inc. have been designing school bus driver training programs for more than 20 years. SBSC was founded by Jeff Cassell, a safety expert with more than 20 years of experience in making kids safer. He was responsible for both the installation of crossing gates on more than 38,000 buses and the first major installation of the Child Check-Mate System to ensure that drivers checked for sleeping children. To learn more about SBSC, please visit: http://www.schoolbussafetyco.com
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