(a) Safety. A program must ensure:
(1) Each child is seated in a child restraint system appropriate to the child’s age, height, and weight;
(2) Baggage and other items transported in the passenger compartment are properly stored and secured, and the aisles remain clear and the doors and emergency exits remain unobstructed at all times;
(3) Up-to-date child rosters and lists of the adults each child is authorized to be released to, including alternates in case of emergency, are maintained and no child is left behind, either at the classroom or on the vehicle at the end of the route; and,
(4) With the exception of transportation services to children served under a home-based option, there is at least one bus monitor on board at all times, with additional bus monitors provided as necessary.
(b) Driver qualifications. A program, with the exception of transportation services to children served under a home-based option, must ensure drivers, at a minimum:
(1) In states where such licenses are granted, have a valid Commercial Driver's License (CDL) for vehicles in the same class as the vehicle the driver will operating; and,
(2) Meet any physical, mental, and other requirements as necessary to perform job-related functions with any necessary reasonable accommodations.
(c) Driver application review. In addition to the applicant review process prescribed §1302.90(b) of this chapter, a program, with the exception of transportation services to children served under a home-based option, must ensure the applicant review process for drivers includes, at minimum:
(1) Disclosure by the applicant of all moving traffic violations, regardless of penalty;
(2) A check of the applicant’s driving record through the appropriate state agency, including a check of the applicant's record through the National Driver Register, if available;
(3) A check that drivers qualify under the applicable driver training requirements in the state or tribal jurisdiction; and,
(4) After a conditional employment offer to the applicant and before the applicant begins work as a driver, a medical examination, performed by a licensed doctor of medicine or osteopathy, establishing that the individual possesses the physical ability to perform any job-related functions with any necessary accommodations.
(d) Driver training. (1) A program must ensure any person employed as a driver receives training prior to transporting any enrolled child and receives refresher training each year.
(2) Training must include:
(i) Classroom instruction and behind-the-wheel instruction sufficient to enable the driver to operate the vehicle in a safe and efficient manner, to safely run a fixed route, to administer basic first aid in case of injury, and to handle emergency situations, including vehicle evacuation, operate any special equipment, such as wheelchair lifts, assistance devices or special occupant restraints, conduct routine maintenance and safety checks of the vehicle, and maintain accurate records as necessary; and,
(ii) Instruction on the topics listed in §1303.75 related to transportation services for children with disabilities.
(3) A program must ensure the annual evaluation of each driver of a vehicle used to provide such services includes an on-board observation of road performance.
(e) Bus monitor training. A program must train each bus monitor before the monitor begins work, on child boarding and exiting procedures, how to use child restraint systems, completing any required paperwork, how to respond to emergencies and emergency evacuation procedures, how to use special equipment, child pick-up and release procedures, how to conduct and pre- and post-trip vehicle checks. Bus monitors are also subject to staff safety training requirements in §1302.47(b)(4) of this chapter including Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and first aid.