Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 22.1. Education
Chapter 12. Pupil Transportation
10/19/2021

Chapter 12. Pupil Transportation.

Article 1. General Provisions.

§ 22.1-176. Transportation of pupils authorized; when fee may be charged; contributions; regulations of Board of Education.

A. School boards may provide for the transportation of pupils, but nothing herein contained shall be construed as requiring such transportation except as provided in § 22.1-221.

B. When a school board provides transportation to pupils for extracurricular activities, other than those covered by an activity fund, which are sponsored by the pupils' school apart from the regular instructional program and which the pupils are not required to attend or participate in, the school board may accept contributions for such transportation or charge each pupil utilizing such transportation a reasonable fee not to exceed his pro rata share of the cost of providing such transportation. A school board may waive such fees for any pupil whose parent or guardian is financially unable to pay them.

C. When a school board provides transportation to pupils for field trips which are a part of the program of the pupils' school or are sponsored by such school, the school board may accept contributions for such transportation.

D. The Board of Education shall promulgate such regulations as shall be in the public interest to effect the intent of this section.

Code 1950, §§ 22-72.1, 22-97.1; 1954, c. 291; 1956, Ex. Sess., c. 60; 1959, Ex. Sess., c. 79, § 1; 1968, c. 501; 1970, c. 156; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 161; 1972, c. 86; 1975, cc. 308, 328; 1976, c. 99; 1978, cc. 430, 527; 1980, c. 559.

§ 22.1-176.1. Agreements to provide transportation for nonpublic school pupils.

Local school boards may enter into agreements with nonpublic schools within the school division to provide student transportation to and from such schools and school field trips under such terms and conditions as the local school boards deem appropriate and responsible. Such terms may include arrangements relating to cost-sharing, fees, insurance, and liability.

2007, c. 476; 2016, cc. 57, 145.

§ 22.1-176.2. Certain students; waiver to access student transportation in certain cases.

Each school board that provides for the transportation of students pursuant to § 22.1-176 and that has established a rule, regulation, or policy to exclude certain students who reside within a certain distance from the school at which they are enrolled from accessing such transportation shall establish a process for waiving, on a case-by-case and space-available basis, such exclusion and providing transportation to any such student whose parent is unable to provide adequate transportation for his child to attend school because the parent is providing necessary medical care to another family member who resides in the same household, as evidenced by a written explanation submitted by a licensed health care provider who provides care to such family member.

2020, c. 576.

§ 22.1-177. Regulations.

A. The Board may make regulations relating to the construction, design, operation, equipment, and color of public school buses and shall have the authority to issue an order prohibiting the operation on public streets and highways of any public school bus that does not comply with such regulations. Any such order shall be enforced by the Department of State Police.

B. Local school boards may, notwithstanding any regulation to the contrary, display decals depicting the flag of the United States on the sides and rear of school buses as long as any such decal does not obstruct the name of the school division or the number of the school bus and is no larger than 100 square inches. In addition, local school boards may, notwithstanding any regulation to the contrary, display decals relating to school bus safety. Local school divisions shall be responsible for the cost of the decals. Such decal shall not obstruct the name of the school division or the number of the school bus.

C. No regulation of the Board shall unreasonably limit the authority of any local school division to purchase and use school buses using compressed natural gas or other alternative fuels or convert its school buses to use compressed natural gas or other alternative fuels.

D. Any local school board may, notwithstanding any regulation to the contrary, sell or transfer any of its school buses to another school division or purchase a used school bus from another school division or a school bus dealer as long as the school bus (i) conforms to the specifications relating to construction and design effective in the Commonwealth on the date of manufacture; (ii) has a valid Virginia State Police inspection; and (iii) has not reached the end of its useful life according to the school bus replacement schedule utilized by the Department of Education as required by the general appropriation act.

Code 1950, § 22-276; 1958, c. 274; 1980, c. 559; 1991, c. 191; 2003, c. 162; 2007, c. 104; 2013, c. 778; 2015, c. 559.

§ 22.1-178. Requirements for persons employed to drive school buses.

A. No school board shall hire, employ, or enter into any agreement with any person for the purposes of operating a school bus transporting pupils unless the person proposed to so operate such school bus shall:

1. Have a physical examination of a scope prescribed by the Board of Education with the advice of the Medical Society of Virginia and furnish a form prescribed by the Board of Education showing the results of such examination.

2. Furnish a statement or copy of records from the Department of Motor Vehicles showing that the records of such Department do not disclose that the person, within the preceding five years, has been convicted upon a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, convicted of a felony or assigned to any alcohol safety action program or driver alcohol rehabilitation program pursuant to § 18.2-271.1 or, within the preceding 12 months, has been convicted of two or more moving traffic violations or required to attend a driver improvement clinic by the Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles pursuant to § 46.2-498.

3. Furnish a statement signed by two reputable persons who reside in the school division or in the applicant's community that the person is of good moral character.

4. Exhibit a license showing the person has successfully undertaken the examination prescribed by § 46.2-339.

5. Have reached the age of 18 on the first day of the school year.

B. Any school board may require proof of current certification or training in emergency first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and the use of an automated external defibrillator as a condition to employment to operate a school bus transporting pupils.

C. School boards may require persons accepting employment after July 1, 1994, as a driver of a school bus transporting pupils to agree, as a condition of employment, to submit to alcohol and controlled substance testing. Any such tests shall be conducted in compliance with Board of Education regulations.

D. The documents required pursuant to subdivisions A 1 and A 2 shall be furnished annually prior to the anniversary date of the employment agreement as a condition to continuing employment to operate a school bus.

E. The documents required pursuant to this section shall be filed with, and made a part of, the records of the school board employing such person as a school bus operator.

F. The State Department of Education shall furnish to the several division superintendents the necessary forms to be used by applicants in furnishing the information required by this section. Insofar as practicable, such forms shall be designed to limit paperwork, avoid the possibility of mistake, and furnish all parties involved with a complete and accurate record of the information required.

G. The physical examination required by subsection A may be performed and the report of the results signed by a licensed nurse practitioner or physician assistant.

Code 1950, § 22-276.1; 1962, c. 544; 1966, c. 604; 1970, c. 696; 1972, c. 359; 1973, c. 170; 1976, cc. 116, 123; 1977, c. 393; 1978, c. 322; 1979, c. 126; 1980, c. 559; 1992, c. 130; 1993, c. 285; 1994, c. 104; 1998, c. 287; 2001, c. 445; 2006, c. 396; 2013, cc. 498, 530.

§ 22.1-179. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1992, c. 130, effective March 3, 1992.

§ 22.1-180. Requirements for persons employed to transport pupils attending religious or private schools.

No person, partnership, association or corporation operating any religious or private school shall hire, employ or enter into any agreement with any person for the purpose of transporting pupils by motor vehicle unless such person shall present the documents and meet the qualifications required of operators of public school buses by subsection A of § 22.1-178. The State Department of Education shall furnish the forms prescribed for the purposes of § 22.1-178 to any person, partnership, association or corporation who shall request such forms for the purpose of compliance with this section.

Code 1950, § 22-276.2; 1968, c. 432; 1980, c. 559; 2005, c. 928.

§ 22.1-181. Training program for school bus operators.

A. The Board shall promulgate regulations requiring persons applying for employment, and employed, to operate school buses to complete a training program developed by the Board.

B. For applicants not currently possessing a commercial driver's license, such regulations shall require (i) a minimum of 24 hours of classroom training administered pursuant to this section and (ii) six hours of behind-the-wheel training on a school bus that contains no pupil passengers. For applicants currently possessing a commercial driver's license, such regulations shall require (a) a minimum of four hours of classroom training administered pursuant to this section and (b) three hours of behind-the-wheel training on a school bus that contains no pupil passengers. Behind-the-wheel training shall be administered under the direct on-board supervision of a designated school bus driver trainer.

C. The training program developed by the Board shall include safety protocols for responding to adverse weather conditions, unsafe conditions during loading and unloading of students, students on the wrong bus, and other circumstances, as determined by the Board, where student safety is at risk.

Code 1950, § 22-276.3; 1977, c. 393; 1980, c. 559; 2018, cc. 203, 389; 2019, c. 769.

§ 22.1-182. Use of school buses for public purposes.

The school board of any school division may enter into agreements with the governing body of any county, city or town in the school division, any state agency or any agency established or identified pursuant to United States Public Law 89-73 or any law amendatory or supplemental thereto providing for the use of the school buses of such school division by such agency or by departments, boards, commissions or officers of such county, city or town for public purposes, including transportation for the elderly. Each such agreement shall provide for reimbursing the school board in full for the proportionate share of any and all costs, both fixed and variable, of such buses incurred by such school board attributable to the use of such buses pursuant to such agreement. The governing body, state agency or agency established or identified pursuant to United States Public Law 89-73 or any law amendatory or supplemental thereto shall indemnify and hold harmless the school board from any and all liability of the school board by virtue of use of such buses pursuant to an agreement authorized herein.

Code 1950, § 22-151.2; 1973, c. 368; 1975, c. 633; 1980, c. 559.

§ 22.1-183. When warning lights and identification to be covered.

It shall be unlawful for a school bus licensed in this Commonwealth to be operated on the public highways of this Commonwealth for the purpose of transporting persons or commodities other than school personnel, school children or elderly or mentally or physically handicapped persons unless the lettered identification and school bus traffic warning lights on the front and rear of such bus are covered with some opaque detachable material. This section shall not apply to any such bus when operated by a salesman or demonstrator in connection with a prospective sale or delivery of a bus.

Code 1950, §§ 22-151.2, 22-280.1; 1973, c. 368; 1975, c. 633; 1980, c. 559.

§ 22.1-184. School bus emergency drills.

At every public school having public school buses there shall be held, at least once during the first ninety calendar days of each school session and oftener if necessary, a drill in leaving school buses under emergency circumstances.

Code 1950, § 22-280.2; 1964, c. 174; 1980, c. 559.

§ 22.1-185. Shelters on bus routes.

The governing body of any county, city or town may expend funds for the construction and maintenance at points on school bus routes of such shelters, platforms or other structures as it may deem necessary or convenient for the protection and comfort of children of school age who go to such points to meet school buses.

Code 1950, § 22-282; 1980, c. 559.

§ 22.1-186. Payments for transportation of pupils.

The regulations of the Board of Education governing state payments for pupil transportation shall provide for payments to school divisions for pupil transportation provided by the school divisions both through systems operated by the school divisions and through contracts with public transportation facilities.

Code 1950, § 22-283.1; 1972, c. 699; 1980, c. 559.

§ 22.1-187. Exemption from payment of tolls by certain students, etc.

It shall be unlawful to collect any toll for the use of any road, highway, bridge, or ferry in the Commonwealth, except those financed under the Transportation Development and Revenue Bond Act (§ 33.2-1700 et seq.) or other act authorizing the construction by the State or a political subdivision thereof of projects financed by the issuance of bonds payable solely from tolls and other revenues of the project, (i) by any student or other person using the road, highway, bridge, or ferry daily for going to or from immediate attendance upon any school, institution of higher education, or other educational institution in the Commonwealth, or classes in water safety training conducted under the auspices of the American Red Cross, or (ii) by the vehicle carrying the student or other person.

Any such student or other person or the parent or guardian of any such student may apply for and receive from the principal of any school, institution of higher education, or other educational institution in the Commonwealth a card certifying that the student or other person uses such road, highway, bridge, or ferry daily for regularly attending such school, institution of higher education, or educational institution or classes at any such school or institution. Such card exhibited to the person in charge of any tollgate on any road, highway, bridge, or ferry in the Commonwealth shall be accepted in lieu of all charges for the passage through such tollgate of any such student, person, or the vehicle carrying him when using the road, highway, bridge, or ferry daily for going to or from immediate attendance at any such school, institution of higher education, or other educational institution or classes at any such school or institution.

Any person using any such card, except for the purpose herein specified, shall be guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 22-277; 1956, c. 237; 1958, c. 465; 1980, c. 559.

Article 2. Insurance Provisions.

§ 22.1-188. Definitions.

As used in this article:

1. "Vehicle" means any vehicle owned or operated by, or owned or operated by any person under contract with, a county, city, town or school board in which any school pupils or personnel are transported at public expense to or from any public school.

2. "School pupils and personnel" includes school bus patrolmen when performing duties either in or outside a vehicle as prescribed by the Board of Education.

1980, c. 559.

§ 22.1-189. Compliance with article prerequisite to receiving state school funds.

No school division in which any school pupils or personnel are transported at public expense to or from any public school in any vehicle shall receive any state school funds unless it complies with all applicable requirements of this article and submits satisfactory evidence to the Superintendent of Public Instruction of the effectuation of all requisite insurance.

Code 1950, § 22-284; 1980, c. 559.

§ 22.1-190. When insurance required and amount thereof.

A. Every vehicle shall be covered in a policy of liability and property damage insurance issued by an insurance carrier authorized to transact business in this Commonwealth, in the amounts of at least $50,000 for injury, including death, to one person; $500,000 for injury, including death, to all persons injured in any one accident; and $50,000 for damage, including destruction, to the property of any person, other than the insured. In addition, the policy of insurance shall provide coverage for loss or damage caused by an uninsured motorist in accordance with the provisions of § 38.2-2206 and in the amounts required by this section. The policy shall also provide for medical expense payment coverage in the minimum amount of $5,000 for each person injured. Taxicabs providing transportation of students under contract with a school division shall be covered by policies providing coverage of at least $50,000 for injury, including death, to one person; $200,000 for injury, including death, to all persons injured in any one accident; $10,000 for damage, including destruction, to the property of any person other than the insured; and medical expense payment coverage in the minimum amount of $1,000 for each person injured, or in such higher amounts as the contract with the school division or a local ordinance may prescribe.

B. The insurance so effected shall be subject to all laws of this Commonwealth regulating insurance.

C. This insurance shall not be required in cases when pupils are transported on a common carrier if such carrier is covered by a policy of insurance affording substantially the protection required by this article.

D. This insurance shall not be required in cases where pupils are transported in vehicles which are owned or operated by a county, city, town or school board which has qualified for and received a certificate of self-insurance from the Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles, following a certification of financial responsibility equal to that required under subsection A of this section. The Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles may require posting of a bond by a locality or school board as a condition to issuance of a certificate of financial responsibility pursuant to this subsection.

Code 1950, § 22-285; 1958, c. 301; 1970, c. 681; 1976, c. 224; 1980, c. 559; 2012, c. 593.

§ 22.1-191. When Superintendent of Public Instruction to obtain insurance.

In every case in which a locality or its school board fails to obtain, or to require vehicles operated under contract with it to be covered by, the requisite insurance by the twentieth of July of any year or fails to notify the Superintendent of Public Instruction of the effectuation of requisite insurance on or before the first of August, it shall be the duty of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, on or before the first of September, to obtain insurance complying with the requirements of this article on all vehicles, as far as known to or reasonably ascertainable by him, to be used in the school division for school pupil and personnel transportation in the ensuing session and to expend for this purpose the requisite amount out of any state school funds otherwise distributable, or becoming distributable, to the school division so in default.

Code 1950, § 22-287; 1980, c. 559.

§ 22.1-192. Injury and damage covered by policy.

Every policy of insurance issued in pursuance of the provisions of this article, in addition to compliance with other requirements of this article and with the requirements of other applicable laws, shall cover:

1. Injury, including death, to school pupils and personnel, except the driver when not a pupil, riding as passengers on any of the vehicles so insured when used to transport such persons at public expense;

2. Injury, including death, to any persons not passengers on any such vehicle;

3. Damage, including destruction, to property of any person other than the insured.

Code 1950, § 22-288; 1962, c. 181; 1980, c. 559.

§ 22.1-193. Sufficiency of proof in action on policy; guest doctrine not applicable.

In case any school pupil or personnel, except the driver when not a pupil, whether riding in a vehicle or not, or any other person suffers injury, including death, or property damage, including destruction, through the ownership, maintenance, use or operation of a vehicle, it shall be sufficient, in an action for recovery upon the policy, to prove such facts and circumstances as are required to be shown in order to recover damages for death or injury to person or property caused by the negligent operation of privately owned motor vehicles in Virginia; provided that such pupils and personnel shall not be considered as guests, and § 8.01-63 shall not apply to them.

Code 1950, § 22-289; 1980, c. 559.

§ 22.1-194. Liability of locality or school board owning or operating vehicle.

In case the locality or the school board is the owner, or operator through medium of a driver, of, or otherwise is the insured under the policy upon, a vehicle involved in an accident, the locality or school board shall be subject to action up to, but not beyond, the limits of valid and collectible insurance in force to cover the injury complained of or, in cases set forth in subsection D of § 22.1-190, up to but not beyond the amounts of insurance required under subsection A of § 22.1-190 and the defense of governmental immunity shall not be a bar to action or recovery. In case of several claims for damages arising out of a single accident involving a vehicle, the claims of pupils and school personnel, excluding driver when not a pupil, shall be first satisfied. In no event, except where approved self-insurance has been provided pursuant to subsection D of § 22.1-190, shall school funds be used to pay any claim or judgment or any person for any injury arising out of the operation of any such vehicle. The locality or school board may be sued alone or jointly with the driver, provided that in no case shall any member of a school board be liable personally in the capacity of school board member solely.

Code 1950, § 22-290; 1976, c. 224; 1980, c. 559.

§ 22.1-195. Recovery where vehicle operated under contract.

In case a vehicle involved in an accident is not owned by the county, city, town or school board but is operated under contract with the locality or school board, recovery may be had as provided for in § 22.1-193.

Code 1950, § 22-291; 1980, c. 559.

§ 22.1-196. Lapsed insurance.

If insurance is obtained but lapses while a vehicle is still being used or is proposed to be used to transport school pupils or personnel, no school funds remaining to be distributed to the school board so in default shall be distributed to it until the terms of this article in this regard have been fully complied with.

Code 1950, § 22-292; 1980, c. 559.

§ 22.1-197. Distribution of funds when Superintendent effects insurance.

When the Superintendent of Public Instruction effects insurance as required by this article, he shall nevertheless not make any distribution of state school aid funds to the school board so in default until he has been furnished with satisfactory assurances that all vehicles required by this article to be covered by insurance have been duly insured.

Code 1950, § 22-293; 1980, c. 559.

§ 22.1-198. Applicability of article not dependent upon approval of vehicles or allocability of state aid.

The provisions of this article apply to all vehicles whether or not the regulations of the Board of Education established pursuant to § 22.1-177 have been complied with and irrespective of whether or not any state aid for transporting school pupils and personnel in the particular vehicle has been, is, or will be allocable.

Code 1950, § 22-294; 1980, c. 559.