Iowa updates school bus spec rules

Posted on July 16, 2014
Among changes to Iowa's school transportation equipment specs is a requirement for remote-controlled mirrors. Photo by John Horton

Among changes to Iowa's school transportation equipment specs is a requirement for remote-controlled mirrors.
Photo by John Horton

DES MOINES, Iowa — Changes to Iowa's school bus specification rules that went into effect today cover such areas as mirrors, seating and surveillance cameras.

This is the first update of the state's "Minimum Specifications for Construction of School Transportation Equipment" — also known as the Administrative Code Chapter 44 rules — in about eight years.

Among the changes are requirements for remote-controlled mirrors, fluorescent seat belts for drivers, and fire block upholstery in all seating positions. Allowances are also made for inside cameras being mounted mid-ship and the use of mobile WiFi.

Iowa officials said that the chapter has also been totally reformatted to make the rules easier to read and understand, and to be more user-friendly.

“Though these changes took time, the finished product is considered to be much improved over the previous rules, last updated in November of 2006,” said Max Christensen, Iowa's state director of pupil transportation.

As an example, previously there were separate sections for the body specs and the chassis specs. The update combines those two sections into one. Officials said that this will help by eliminating double standards and allowing the user to only have to look in one area for various items, such as “bumper,” “color” or “wiring.”

The biggest change to the Iowa school bus rules is in the area of seat restraints. Lap belts are no longer allowed on new buses, except for use with child seats meeting the requirements of FMVSS 213. Otherwise, if seat restraints are used on a new school bus, they must be lap-shoulder belts and must include a flexible seating design feature.

“We still feel it should be a local district decision to add seat restraints to a new school bus," Christensen said. "But if they make that decision, we feel the three-point lap-shoulder belts add a great deal more safety than simply using the two-point lap belt variety. With this updated rule, the use of school bus seat restraints in Iowa enters a new and safer era.”

For an overiew of the updates to the Iowa school bus spec rules, click here. The full set of rules is available here.

Related Topics: Iowa, mirrors, school bus specs, seat belts, seating, video surveillance

Comments ( 2 )
  • Michael

     | about 3 years ago

    Drivers wearing the seat belts is very important, but I find the fluorescent ones obnoxious because the bright color reflects back at you in the windshield. I dislike that spec.

  • See all comments
More Stories

5 New School Bus Shop Tools

An app that helps track maintenance and fuel, a remote-controlled mobile column lift, and a portable LED work light are among the latest offerings that can assist in school bus maintenance.

A school bus carrying 13 students was traveling along a highway when it hit a large turkey that flew across the roadway. Stock photo by Grendelkhan via Wikimedia Commons

School Bus Collides With Turkey

A bus carrying 13 students is traveling along a highway when a large turkey flies across the roadway from a ditch, according to the Kansas Highway Patrol.


Timer Switch

The 5600 Timer Box is designed to provide flexible, efficient switching of LED lights in a compact unit.


Student Allegedly Sexually Assaulted on School Bus

A Florence County (S.C.) Sheriff’s Office report states that video allegedly shows students pulling another student to the back of the bus and assaulting her while another student appears to block the driver’s view.

Be the First to Know

Get the latest news and most popular articles from SBF delivered straight to your inbox. Stay on top of the school bus industry and don't miss a thing!