Wednesday, June 30, 2010

On July 1 New Law in Illinois Bans 15 Passenger Vans for Public and Private Schools: Vans considered unsafe

As of Thursday July 1, 2010, it will be illegal for school districts in Illinois to use 15 passenger vans to transport students.

(Click here to read full article)

On August 13, 2009, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed bill HB 3982 (Public Act 96-0410), which eliminates the use of passenger vans which seat over 10 passengers for interscholastic or other school sponsored non-curriculum related activities. With the passage of this legislation, Illinois is now in compliance with federal standards which eliminate vans that are considered to be unsafe.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found that these vans, when transporting 10 or more students, have a rollover rate which is three times the rate of rollovers for vans with less than five passengers. Federal regulations prohibit school districts from buying or leasing these vans, partially because, if there is a rollover accident resulting in the death or injury of students, schools are vulnerable to increased liability.

While the legislation specifically talks about school districts, Illinois has been interpreting laws regarding school buses for private schools in a way that is consistent with their application to public school districts.

This legislation does not affect passenger vans which are designed to carry 10 or fewer persons. These vans do not meet the qualifications to pick up students on a bus route or carry students to and from school.

The School Code has been amended requiring that any students under grade 12 are to be transported in a school bus or a multifunction school-activity bus (MFSAB) for any interscholastic, interscholastic athletic, or non-curriculum activity. Put simply, school buses must be equipped with the flashing lights, stop sign, and be painted yellow and black. Multifunction school-activity buses would include buses manufactured to transport 11-15 persons, including the driver, which is not designed to transport students to and from home and school bus stops.

This new law takes effect on July 1, 2010. Hopefully this will help any school in planning their students’ transportation needs for sports and academic competitions.

If your church has a 15 passenger van, it is legal to use to transport students to and from games until the end of June 2010, but consideration must be given, that if a student is injured or killed in a rollover accident, there will be additional liability for the school.