MONTGOMERY, Ala. — School bus drivers statewide must successfully complete a physical examination by a licensed physician under legislation that was recently signed into law by Gov. Robert Bentley.

The Lieutenant Dexter Holcomb Act mandates that bus drivers must complete a physical, at their own expense, by Aug. 14.

“This new requirement will help Alabama school systems and school bus drivers continue transporting students safely,” said Joe Lightsey, director of pupil transportation at the 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 the new regulation.”

Under the law — which applies to new, current and future school bus drivers, including substitutes — a person may not be allowed to drive a school bus transporting students unless he or she is physically qualified. Officials said that the physical qualifications “mirror” those required for a Department of Transportation medical card.

In addition, the results of the physical examination must be documented on forms prescribed by the Alabama Department of Education 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 law will lose their Alabama school bus driver certificate.

On June 14, the Alabama board of education adopted an Alabama Administrative Code Emergency Rule to assist school systems in complying with the law.

The emergency rule provides that no person may be allowed to operate a school bus transporting students to or from school or school-related events unless that person is physically qualified in accordance with the law.

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