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Minnesota Legislature

Type III bus driver change

Published (4/24/2009)
By Mike Cook
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A new law corrects an unintended consequence of a 2008 law.

Sponsored by Rep. John Ward (DFL-Brainerd) and Sen. Rick Olseen (DFL-Harris), the law will allow a school district employee with any class of commercial driver’s license to operate a Type III vehicle. It is effective April 24, 2009, one day after being signed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

Type III vehicles are passenger autos, vans and buses that hold no more than 10 people, and whose maximum gross weight is 10,000 pounds. They are used, for example, when a fine arts coach drives his or her team to a meet.

Last year’s law required bus drivers to comply with a number of requirements, including a physical and drug test. The previous sponsors intended to exempt “temporary or incidental Type III school vehicle drivers” because driving would not be part of their “normal duties.” However, the Department of Public Safety interpreted the law whereby anyone who might drive a Type III vehicle must meet the bus driver requirements.

Proponents said that without the change, some schools might have to cut programs or have students drive themselves to games, contests or other events.


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