School bus drivers required to pass physical exam

Published 4:32 pm Monday, June 18, 2012

The Alabama State Department of Education has mandated that all school bus drivers in the state receive a physical examination before the 2012–2013 school year begins.

The new act, signed by Gov. Robert Bentley on May 14, requires any person driving a school bus and transporting students to successfully complete a physical examination by a licensed physician at his or her own expense.

“This new requirement will help Alabama school systems and school bus drivers continue transporting students safely,” said Joe Lightsey, director of Pupil Transportation, Alabama Department of Education. “I encourage all school bus drivers and others holding an Alabama School Bus Driver Certificate to contact their local school system transportation office immediately to learn more about complying with new regulation.”

The deadline for all new, current and future bus drivers, including substitute drivers, to complete a physical is Aug. 14.

“That includes coaches, band directors (and) everybody that drives a school bus in our county,” said Joe Dennis, transportation supervisor at the Chilton County Bus Shop. “In the school bus business, safety is our primary concern. Our hope is that this will keep our employees on top of their medical situations.”

According to Dennis, this is the first time all drivers have had to complete a full-scale examination to verify their health before being permitted to operate school buses.

Dennis expressed concerns about the amount of time the county has to obtain exam verification from its approximately 250 drivers before the Aug. 14 deadline.

“We are concerned about what it’s going to do to our work force,” Dennis said. “For the good of the cause, I’m sure we’ll get it done.”

According to a press release from the Alabama Department of Education, the general provisions of the act are as follows:

•A person may not be allowed to drive a school bus transporting students unless he or she is physically qualified.

•The physical qualifications “mirror” those required for a Department of Transportation Medical Card.

•The act applies to new, current and future school bus drivers, including substitute drivers.

•The results of the physical examination must be documented on forms prescribed by ADE and maintained at the school system’s central office.

•Drivers may be “grandfathered” for any condition if the doctor states that the condition will not adversely affect their ability to control and safely operate a school bus. A signed waiver is also required.

•Drivers who fail to comply with the act will lose their Alabama School Bus Driver Certificate.

For more information, contact Pupil Transportation at or at 334-242-9730.