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Legal Focus

 
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Legal Update for School Bus Contractors

Despite the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) continued position that “the school bus is the safest vehicle on the road”, in 2019 the school bus industry has been the focus of increased attention from lawmakers and regulators. Following is a brief discussion of the evolving state and federal laws from the past year that matter most to Pennsylvania’s school bus contractors.
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Proposed Changes to FMCSA Hours of Service Requirements

The FMCSA is considering changes to its Hours of Service rules, some of which will have an effect on the school bus industry. Shortly after the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (“FMCSA”) instituted Electronic Logging Devices (“ELDs”) to record hours of service, it received notice of additional changes which are desired by those who were affected. On August 22, 2019, the FMCSA issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking with changes that FMCSA is now proposing to the hours of service re...
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Flexible Instructional Days Could Reduce School Transportation Needs

On July 2, 2019, Governor Tom Wolf, signed SB 440 into law allowing Pennsylvania schools to have up to five “flexible instructional days” each year in place of face to face classroom time. This means that the number of days that require transportation to and from school could be reduced from the currently required 180 days. While this may be a benefit to school districts, most school bus contracts are based on an anticipated 180 days of revenue. Eliminating five days of transportation could r...
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Overtime and Minimum Wage Changes Propoosed by U.S. Department of Labor

Many remember the 2016 Obama era rule from the U.S. Dept. of Labor (US DOL) that sought to more than double the threshold for overtime pay by employers. That rule was contested in federal court and was ultimately withdrawn by the Trump administration. The U.S. Department of Labor is now again proposing a new rule that would increase the overtime pay threshold and the number of workers eligible for overtime pay and minimum wage.
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Diabetes Exemptions & Waivers

In September 2018, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced it was revising 49 CFR § 391.41 to permit drivers with a stable insulin regimen and properly controlled insulin-treated diabetes mellitus (ITDM) to be permitted to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in interstate commerce without an exemption from FMCSA.
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Unified Carrier Registration Fee Update

In December 2018, the Uniform Carrier Registration Boac ("UCRB") approved the National School Transportation Association ("NSTA") request for an intrastate school bus fee exemption. This new UCR fee exemption allows school buses that will not cross state lines from their UCR fee calculation. This is a huge savings for contractors who have only a few school buses in their fleet that actually cross state lines.
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Seat Belt Summary

The debate about seats belts on school buses has been shurning for decades. Despite years of debate there is currently no Federal requirment for seat belts on school buses. As a result, several states have elected to establish legislation requiring seat belts on school buses. But, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) currently stands b its commitment to compartmentalization, the current federal requirment, and maintains that is is the most effective method during the eve...
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