The Senate today unanimously approved Senate Bill 1312, legislation introduced by Senator Elder Vogel that will amend state law to bring Pennsylvania’s school bus laws in line with 45 other states and allow school districts and school bus contractors to choose the most appropriate vehicles based on their needs.
Currently state law arbitrarily limits school buses to 40 feet in length, despite the fact that other types of “non-school” buses are legal in lengths up to 45 feet.
“Manufacturers are selling buses in lengths between 40 and 45 feet in other states, but our school districts and their contractors are prohibited from using them in Pennsylvania,” said Senator Vogel. “By allowing school districts and school bus contractors to purchase longer buses, they will be able to better control their costs by streamlining routes. Furthermore, it will allow school districts and contractors to choose from among the full selection of vehicles available with the latest technology and safety features to best meet the needs of their districts.”
Pennsylvania is only one of five states that restrict the length of a school bus to 40 feet. The National Congress on Student Transportation, a group of pupil transportation experts from each state, supports this concept by recommending the overall length of a school bus shall not exceed 45 feet, excluding accessories. This legislation will mirror this recommendation by allowing buses to transport students on a school bus up to 45 feet in length.
SB 1312 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Click here to hear Senator Vogel’s comments on the bill.
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