House Study Bill 39 - IntroducedA Bill ForAn Act 1allowing certain vans and pickups to be used to
2transport pupils to activity events or from school to home
3in emergency situations.
4BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF IOWA:
1   Section 1.  Section 321.1, subsection 69, paragraph d, Code
22019, is amended to read as follows:
   3d.  Designed New or used motor vehicles designed to carry
4not more than nine persons as passengers, including the driver,
5or used passenger vans designed to carry not more than twelve
6persons as passengers, including the driver
, either school
7owned or privately owned, which are used to transport pupils
8to activity events in which the pupils are participants or
9used to transport pupils to their homes in case of illness or
10other emergency situations. The vehicles operated under the
11provisions of this paragraph shall be operated by employees of
12the school district who are specifically approved by the local
13superintendent of schools for the assignment.
14   Sec. 2.  Section 321.373, subsection 3, Code 2019, is amended
15to read as follows:
   163.  a.  The rules prescribed for school buses shall include
17special rules for passenger automobiles, and other vehicles
18designed to carry eight or fewer pupils, when used as school
19buses.
   20b.  The rules shall allow pickups designed to carry nine
21passengers or less, including the driver, and weighing ten
22thousand pounds or less, to be used as school buses if the
23pickup does not carry more passengers than there are safety
24belts or safety harnesses in the pickup as installed by the
25manufacturer and if the pickup is not operated while any
26passenger is present in the bed of the pickup. The operator
27of the pickup shall comply with the qualification, licensing,
28and instruction requirements set forth in sections 321.375 and
29321.376, other than the requirement to obtain a commercial
30driver’s license. However, the rules shall allow the board of
31directors of a school district to prohibit the use of pickups
32as school buses by the school district.
   33c.  The rules shall allow used passenger vans designed to
34carry twelve or fewer passengers, including the driver, and
35weighing ten thousand pounds or less, to be used as school
-1-1buses if the van does not carry more passengers than there are
2safety belts or safety harnesses in the van as installed by
3the manufacturer. The operator of the van shall comply with
4the qualification, licensing, and instruction requirements set
5forth in sections 321.375 and 321.376.
   6d.  A pickup or passenger van operated pursuant to rules
7described in paragraph “b” or “c” is subject to the limitations
8set forth in section 321.1, subsection 69, paragraph “d”.
9EXPLANATION
10The inclusion of this explanation does not constitute agreement with
11the explanation’s substance by the members of the general assembly.
   12CURRENT IOWA LAW. Under current law, motor vehicles
13designed to carry not more than nine persons as passengers,
14either school owned or privately owned, are excluded from the
15definition of “school bus” under Code section 321.1, thereby
16excluding such vehicles from the duties and requirements
17relating to school buses set forth in Code chapter 321
18(motor vehicles and law of the road). To qualify under the
19exclusion, a vehicle must be used to transport pupils to
20activity events in which the pupils are participants or used
21to transport pupils to their homes in case of illness or other
22emergency situations, and must be operated by an employee of
23the school district who is specifically approved by the local
24superintendent of schools for the assignment.
   25Administrative rules of the department of education regulate
26type III vehicles used as school buses. Under 281 IAC 44.2(5),
27type III vehicles are not regular school buses but are used
28to transport students in a school-related context and may
29be marked as a school bus. A type III vehicle is a van or
30passenger car, including a minivan, sport utility vehicle, or
31station wagon. The difference between a family automobile and
32an equivalent type III vehicle is not the vehicle itself, but
33rather its use, as type III vehicles are used by schools for
34purposes of student transportation. To qualify as a type III
35vehicle, the vehicle must carry a maximum of nine or fewer
-2-1people, including the driver, and weigh 10,000 pounds or less.
2Under 281 IAC 44.5(1), vehicles classified as pickups are not
3allowed to be used for student transportation. All type III
4vehicles are prohibited from carrying more passengers than
5there are seat belts as installed by the manufacturer (281
6IAC 44.5(1)(d)). In addition, trailer hitches are allowed on
7type III vehicles in accordance with the manufacturer’s rated
8towing capacity, but students are not allowed to be transported
9in the vehicle when the vehicle is being used to tow (281 IAC
1044.5(2)(j)).
   11Any person who operates or allows the operation of any
12vehicle as a school bus which does not comply with the
13requirements provided by law or by the rules and regulations of
14the department of education, or for which there is not a valid
15temporary certificate for operation, is guilty of a simple
16misdemeanor (Code section 285.14). The department of education
17is required to review all transportation arrangements when
18deemed necessary, to disapprove any arrangements that are not
19in conformity with the law and established standards, and to
20require the arrangements to be altered or changed so that they
21do conform with the law and established standards (Code section
22285.8).
   23CURRENT FEDERAL LAW. 49 U.S.C.§30112(a)(1) prohibits the
24manufacture, sale, or import of a motor vehicle that does not
25comply with applicable motor vehicle safety standards if the
26vehicle was manufactured on or after the date an applicable
27safety standard took effect. The provision does not apply
28after the first purchase of the motor vehicle in good faith
29other than for resale. Therefore, the provision prohibits the
30sale of a new motor vehicle for use as a school bus if the motor
31vehicle does not meet applicable federal safety standards for
32school buses. Under federal law, a school bus is a passenger
33motor vehicle designed to carry a driver and more than 10
34passengers that is used significantly to transport students to
35or from school or an event related to school.
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   1PICKUPS. This bill requires the administrative rules to
2allow pickups designed to carry nine passengers or less,
3including the driver, and weighing 10,000 pounds or less, to
4be used as school buses. Under Code section 321.1, a “pickup”
5is any motor vehicle designed to carry merchandise or freight
6of any kind, not to exceed 2,000 pounds. The bill prohibits
7the pickup from carrying more passengers than there are safety
8belts or safety harnesses in the pickup as installed by the
9manufacturer, and from operating while any passenger is present
10in the bed of the pickup. The operator of the pickup must
11comply with the qualification, licensing, and instruction
12requirements set forth in Code sections 321.375 (school bus
13drivers, qualifications, and grounds for suspension) and
14321.376 (license, authorization, and instruction requirement),
15other than the requirement to obtain a commercial driver’s
16license. However, the bill provides that the rules must allow
17the board of directors of a school district to prohibit the use
18of pickups as school buses by the school district.
   19PASSENGER VANS. The bill excludes from the definition
20of “school bus” under Code section 321.1 used passenger vans
21designed to carry not more than 12 persons as passengers,
22including the driver. The bill requires the administrative
23rules to allow used passenger vans designed to carry 12 or
24fewer passengers, including the driver, and weighing 10,000
25pounds or less, to be used as school buses if the van does
26not carry more passengers than there are safety belts or
27safety harnesses in the van as installed by the manufacturer.
28The operator of the van must comply with the qualification,
29licensing, and instruction requirements set forth in Code
30sections 321.375 and 321.376.
   31LIMITATION. The bill specifies that pickups and passenger
32vans operated as school buses under the administrative rules
33described in the bill are subject to the limitations set forth
34under the provision of Code section 321.1 that excludes such
35vehicles from the definition of “school bus”, namely that
-4-1such vehicles must be used to transport pupils to activity
2events in which the pupils are participants or used to
3transport pupils to their homes in case of illness or other
4emergency situations, and must be operated by an employee of
5the school district who is specifically approved by the local
6superintendent of schools for the assignment.
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