No one may operate a type A, B, C or D school bus when transporting school children to or from school or a school-related trip or activity unless s/he has a valid commercial driver's license with a passenger and school bus endorsement. A person who has a valid driver's license but not a school bus or passenger endorsement may drive a type III school bus.
School Bus: A motor vehicle used to transport pupils (grades K-12) to or from a school or to or from school-related activities, by the school or a school district or by someone under an agreement with the school or a school district.
School Bus Driver: A person with a school bus endorsement on a valid Minnesota driver's license or a person with a valid Minnesota driver's license who drives a vehicle used as a school bus that has a passenger seating capacity of ten or fewer, including the driver.
To Add the Endorsement:
A school bus driver must be at least 18 years of age. No maximum age is set by law, however, some school districts or private contractors may have a mandatory retirement age.
Applicant must conduct a criminal history and driver's license record check of the applicant
If the applicant has lived in Minnesota for less than five years, the check also includes a national criminal history check (a temporary school bus endorsement may be issued to an otherwise qualified applicant. The temporary endorsement will be effective for no more than 180 days. The applicant must present an affidavit certifying that s/he has not been convicted of a disqualifying offense and a criminal history check from each state of residence for the previous five years. The criminal history check may be conducted and prepared by any public or private source acceptable to the commissioner of public safety).
An applicant for a school bus driver’s endorsement must be in good physical and mental health, able-bodied, and free from communicable disease. As evidence of physical fitness and mental alertness, the applicant must have a physical examination by medical examiners authorized as provided by the Code of Federal Regulations, title 49, chapter 3, part 39, subpart E. The certificate must comply with the form prescribed in Code of Federal Regulations, title 49, section 391.43, paragraph (f).
Each school bus driver is required to pass a physical examination every two years to retain endorsement.
The two-year re-examination period starts from the examination date of the most recent physical certificate submitted by the driver.
The driver must fax or mail the completed certificate to the Driver and Vehicle Services CDL Unit. It must be received on or before the expiration of the two-year period. Effective July 1, 2000, a $4 processing fee is collected with each original or renewal application with a school bus endorsement.
*IMPORTANT NOTICE Regarding Medical Examiner's Certificate: As of December 22, 2015, a newly revised version of the MEC (Form MCSA-5876) should be used by medical examiner's. Both versions of the MEC will be accepted until April 20, 2016, after which only the new version will be accepted.
Waiver of Physical Qualifications
An individual who does not meet the physical qualifications for a school bus endorsement may request a waiver from the commissioner of public safety. For more information, contact the CDL Unit at (651) 297-5029.
Forms for Medical Waivers:
Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Waiver PacketContains
General Medical Waiver Application
D4 Ophthalmologist Exam Report
Insulin-Treated Diabetes Mellitus Report
Vision Waiver PacketContains:
Cover Letter General Medical Waiver Application
The test or examination required for an initial school bus driver's endorsement on a Minnesota driver's license includes a knowledge test and a road test in an appropriate vehicle. School bus drivers are re-tested for current knowledge of school bus laws every four years when renewing their driver's license. The renewal knowledge test is also required when the driver upgrades to a higher-class license.
The commissioner will not issue or renew a school bus endorsement if:
- The applicant has been convicted of a disqualifying offense
- Within the last five years, the applicant has been convicted of a gross misdemeanor or of violating DWI or implied consent laws
- In the last three years, the applicant has been convicted of four moving violations.
- If the driver does not pass the physical examination or return the certificate within two years of the date of the last physical, the commissioner of public safety will cancel the school bus endorsement. If the endorsement is canceled because of a failure to submit the required certificate, the driver may reapply for the endorsement within one year by submitting a new physical. If an endorsement is cancelled or voluntarily surrendered for more than one year, the driver must retake the school bus written and road tests before reapplying for the endorsement.
- Within ten days of receiving notice that a school bus driver or nonresident driver has been convicted of a disqualifying offense, the commissioner will permanently cancel the school bus driver's endorsement and, in the case of a nonresident, the driver's privilege to operate a school bus in Minnesota.
- Within ten days of receiving notice that a school bus driver has been convicted of a violation of DWI laws, or a similar statute or ordinance from another state, and within ten days of revoking a school bus driver's license, the commissioner will cancel the school bus driver's endorsement or the nonresident's privilege to operate a school bus in Minnesota for five years. After five years, a school bus driver may apply to the commissioner for reinstatement.
- Within ten days of receiving notice that a school bus driver has been convicted of a fourth moving violation in the last three years, the commissioner will cancel the school bus driver's endorsement or the nonresident's privilege to operate a school bus in Minnesota until one year has elapsed since the last conviction. A school bus driver who has no new convictions after one year may apply for reinstatement.
Waiver of Cancelation
The commissioner may waive the permanent cancelation requirement after ten years have elapsed since a person was convicted of a violation of Minnesota Statute, section 609.582
, subdivision 2, 3 or 4 (burglary in the second, third or fourth degree).
Types of School Buses
Type A: A conversion or body constructed upon a van-type or cutaway front section vehicle with a left-side driver’s door, designed for carrying more than ten persons. There are two classifications: type A-I, with a GVWR of 14,500 pounds or less, and type A-II, with a GVWR greater than 14,500 pounds and less than or equal to 21,500 pounds.
Type B: A conversion or body constructed and installed upon a van or front-section vehicle chassis, or stripped chassis, with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds, designed for carrying more than ten persons. Part of the engine is beneath or behind the windshield and beside the driver's seat. The entrance door is behind the front wheels.
Type C: A body installed upon a flat back cowl chassis with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 21,500 pounds, designed for carrying more than ten persons. The engine is in front of the windshield and the entrance door is behind the front wheels. A type C school bus has a maximum length of 45 feet.
Type D: A body installed upon a chassis, with the engine mounted in the front, mid-ship or rear, with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds, designed for carrying more than ten persons. The engine may be behind the windshield and beside the driver's seat; it may be at the rear of the bus, behind the rear wheels or mid-ship between the front and rear axles. The entrance door is ahead of the front wheels.
Type III: Type III school buses and type III Head Start buses are restricted to passenger cars, station wagons, vans and buses having a maximum manufacturer's rated seating capacity of ten or fewer people, including the driver, and a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less. A type III school bus and type III Head Start bus must not be outwardly equipped and identified as a type A, B, C or D school bus or type A, B, C or D Head Start bus. A van or bus converted to a seating capacity of ten or fewer and placed in service on or after August 1, 1999, must have been originally manufactured to comply with the passenger safety standards.