California School Bus Idling Rules and Regulations
published on February 16, 2017 by Sonia Mastros
Student safety is a major concern across the country, and in California, specific measures have been taken to improve air quality so that all residents breathe easier. Student bus transportation programs are required to do their part by following certain rules and regulations regarding idling.
School Bus Idling
Unnecessary school bus idling exposes students, parents, and teachers to toxic air contaminants that could have negative health effects. This exposure may cause eye and respiratory irritation, increased asthma symptoms, and even increase the risk of cancer. School buses are an extraordinarily safe mode of student transportation, however, spending significant time around an idle bus is not recommended. In 2003, California enacted the Airborne Toxic Control Measure, which limits idling, particularly near schools.
Rules and Regulations Regarding Student Bus Transportation Idling in California
California now limits idling of school buses at or near schools that include grades 12 and below. These regulations apply no matter the type of fuel used or whether or not a school is actively in session. A school bus or commercial vehicle driver must turn off the engine when it arrives at a school and may turn it back on no more than 30 seconds before they depart. School bus drivers are also prohibited from idling for longer than five minutes at locations other than schools, like bus stops or field trip destinations. The only exemptions are buses who are in the midst of traffic or that must idle for repair or unique safety reasons.
Teachers, administrators, or the general public may report an idling violation to the California Air Resources Board. Penalties for non-compliance range from a $300 fine to possible criminal penalties. Along with reduced idling, air-quality experts also recommend assigning the cleanest buses to the longest routes and replacing uncontrolled diesel buses with those with particulate traps or vehicles that utilize cleaner alternative fuels.
To learn more about student bus transportation safety issues, contact the transportation specialists at BusBoss. We’d be glad to discuss how our technological options can help you monitor your school buses and help you uncover any unauthorized instances of idling.
How have the idling rules and regulations in California impacted the efficiency of the bus drivers in your school district? Do you feel that these measures could be helpful in districts across the country? We’d love to get your feedback on this important concern.