WETHERSFIELD, Conn. — Older school buses in the state will still be required to have crossing arms, despite legislation passed earlier this year that was intended to exempt them.
The Connecticut School Transportation Association (COSTA) reported in a recent newsletter that Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Commissioner Robert Ward ruled that the legislation — aimed at exempting model year 2006 and older school buses from a DMV regulation requiring crossing arms on all school buses — was ineffective.
The DMV regulation was issued last year, with a deadline of Sept. 1, 2008, to retrofit the older buses.
COSTA opposed the regulation, arguing that crossing arms retrofitted onto older school buses regularly malfunction.
The legislation that was then introduced and passed had been deemed to be effective by COSTA Executive Director Bill Moore, a state senator and the DMV’s legal counsel. The parties had agreed on this text:
“Each school bus that is model year 2007 or newer shall be equipped with a crossing control arm mounted on the right front bumper.”
Responding to an inquiry from Sgt. Garfield Green, the state pupil transportation director, Ward wrote that the legislation “simply provides a mandate on certain model year buses.” The legislation was not clear in its attempt to exempt older buses, Ward wrote.
COSTA’s subsequent efforts to change Ward’s mind were unsuccessful.
The association advised school bus operators to proceed with retrofitting buses with crossing arms by Sept. 1.