LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Jennifer Granholm has signed into law a bill that reforms a previous law by setting several requirements for school bus drivers statewide in line with federal standards. The aim is to improve school bus safety and reduce expenditures.
HB 5363, introduced by state Rep. Gail Haines, streamlines drivers’ safety education course requirements to ensure that they are not taking overlapping courses that will result in an added expense to the drivers and/or school districts.
The legislation strives to further aid in saving money by changing the requirement for annual medical exams to biannual exams, unless a driver has a known health issue. For instance, drivers with diabetes must be evaluated and treated by a physician and visit the physician at least twice in the year before the physician completes a survey that includes such information as:
• The driver knows what to do if he or she has a hypoglycemic reaction.
• The driver can accurately describe the type, frequency and peak action of his or her insulin or oral agent.
• The driver understands the importance of spacing meals and snacks and of not misusing meals.
Moreover, the bill specifies that if an employer has reason to believe that a driver is not physically qualified to drive, the employer may require the driver to take a physical exam at more frequent intervals.
"This legislation puts Michigan in line with federal standards to ensure school bus safety," Haines said when the bill was being considered in the Legislature. "It also cuts government red tape and unnecessary administrative fees. This legislation is win-win for Michigan schools, students and taxpayers."
The reforms will reportedly reduce administrative costs for schools by an estimated $600,000 statewide.