PIERRE, S.D. — South Dakota Gov. Michael Rounds signed into law in March a bill allowing people with insulin-treated diabetes mellitus to hold a school bus endorsement on a CDL.
The South Dakota School Transportation Association (SDSTA) first proposed the legislation in 2008. That year’s bill passed the House of Representatives but ultimately was tabled in the Senate Transportation Committee.
The SDSTA voted at its winter meeting to once again pursue insulin waiver legislation in 2009, and Rep. Bob Faehn agreed to introduce the bill on behalf of the SDSTA.
Several members of the association traveled to the capital to testify in favor of the bill. After passing the House with an amendment to include daily monitoring by the driver, the Senate passed the bill, clearing the way for the governor’s signature.
SDSTA President Tim Steichen said the association believes that the legislation is an important tool to help with the problem of school bus driver shortages and retention.
Under the law, people who are otherwise medically qualified to operate a school bus can get a waiver by providing medical information about their diabetes verified by a doctor, endocrinologist and ophthalmologist. Drivers must reapply for renewal of the waiver every two years.
In addition, anyone who holds the waiver must undergo a physical examination after the first year and must check his or her blood glucose level no more than 30 minutes before operating a school bus, and at each hour thereafter. A waiver holder who has a severe hypoglycemic episode must forfeit the waiver and may not reapply for five years.