The Ontario School Bus Association (OSBA) is a non-profit association providing advocacy, education, and legislative consultation services to the owners of school bus fleets, school boards/transportation consortia and supplier/manufacturer companies across Ontario.  
January 18, 2017 - Issue 2

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Inside this Edition:
  1. Join Us for an OSBA Member WEBINAR - January 25, 2017​
  2. MTO Proposal to Modify Annual / Semi-Annual Brake Inspections
  3. Tennessee School Board Awaits Impact Study Results For Seat Belts Use
  4. Two Additional P.R.I.D.E. Programs Added in 2017 Due to High Demand​
  5. FMCSA Ensures Drug, Alcohol Clearinghouse Remains In Place
  6. Precious Cargo: TSD Keynote Offers Bus Driver Perspective​
  7. Register Now for the February 2 P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program!
  8. Students Transform School Bus Into Gift for Teacher’s Developmentally Challenged Daughter
  9. Upcoming Events
Join Us for an OSBA Member WEBINAR - January 25, 2017

If you haven’t already registered for the Jan. 25, 2017 OSBA member webinar, please click here to do so. Only 45 minutes of time to receive valuable information on important student transportation safety and regulatory issues listed below - 10:00-10:45 am EST.

The following topics will be presented by Alex Bugeya, Safety/Legislation Consultant and Resource to Ontario School Bus Association members:

1. Understanding out-of-province school bus licences 
     a. What are the licence classes from other provinces? 
     b. Reciprocity – Can out-of-province licences be utilized in Ontario? 
     c. When is a licence exchange required and what are the rules?
2. Update on Distracted Driving Exemption for Handheld Two-Way Radios 
3. OSBA’s Online Criminal Background Check Service 
    a. A walk through the application process 
    b. Understanding results and what the MTO does with them 

The goal of these webinars is to provide attendees with essential operational and safety data not frequently published or easily resourced.  Significant, day-to-day performance information is provided that could contribute to changing the way you do business! REGISTER TODAY!
MTO Proposal to Modify Annual / Semi-Annual Brake Inspections

The Highway Traffic Act, Regulation 611 requires that school buses, school purpose vehicles and accessible vehicles be inspected twice annually (yellow sticker – annual inspection / orange sticker – semi-annual inspection).  These inspections are done to the standards set out in the 2014 version of the National Safety Code Standard 11B, with some modifications outlined in Ontario regulations.  The current regulatory modifications do not permit the use of a provision contained in NSC 11B known as the “Limited Brake Inspection” (LBI) when inspecting buses, school purpose vehicles and accessible vehicles.

The LBI allows for an NSC 11B compliant inspection to take place without the removal of the wheels and inspection of the internal brake components (components found inside the wheel) provided a full brake inspection (inspection with wheels removed) was completed within the previous 7 months.  In addition, for certain air brake systems, the inspection can take place by removing the dust shields rather than the wheel.

Currently, the semi-annual inspection accomplishes a similar inspection as the internal brake components do not need to be inspected during a semi-annual inspection.  From a practical standpoint, the proposed changes would result in:
  • No change to the current 6-month inspection cycle
  • Minimal change in inspection requirements
  • Reduce the requirement to remove wheels on buses with certain air-brake systems
  • Allow buses that are less than 7 months old to utilize the LBI inspection 
  • A single inspection sticker applied every 6-months, rather than the current two sticker system
The MTO is seeking comment on this proposal until February 27, 2017.  More information regarding this proposal can be viewed here. The NSC 11B standard is available here.

For further information, or to provide any comments/suggestions, please contact Alex Bugeya – or 416-695-9965 Ext. 4
Tennessee School Board Awaits Impact Study Results For Seat Belts Use

Article Source: School Transportation News (Nashville, TN)
Article Date: January 16, 2017

The Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) Board in Nashville, Tennessee, unanimously passed a one-sentence resolution to commission an impact study to determine whether seat belts on buses are in the best interest for the safety of students on board.

In light of the string of deadly school bus crashes, the MNPS Board asked Director of Schools Shawn Joseph to study the correlation between seat belts and safety, as there have been conflicting reports on their true value. 

“We have seen studies that recommend seat belts and studies that state that school buses are safe without them,” said Anna Shepherd, MNPS school board chair.

According to Shepherd, the report’s findings will be expected early February. Once the results are received and the board has a discussion on the board floor, the board will move to decide on which measures are needed to be addressed and enforced.

The resolution, however, does not state what type of restraint systems would be required given the findings call for the need of seat belts.

The study was initially introduced by Council Members Karen Johnson and Ed Kindal in response to the Chattanooga school bus crash that killed six students and left dozens injured last year.

Shepherd mentioned the cost to retrofit each bus MNPS currently owns would be approximately $12,000. Aside from retrofitting each bus, the district would also have to purchase extra school buses since seat belts limit the number of students transported.

“The bottom line is that there is no price tag on student safety,” Shepherd said.

Currently, the Tennessee state code does not require retrofitting or the installation of seat belts on school buses.
Two Additional P.R.I.D.E. Programs Added in 2017 Due to High Demand

The Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program has responded to numerous registrations received in 2017 by adding two additional programs. 

Don’t Be Disappointed – Register Today!
  1. January 15-20 - SOLD OUT
  2. NEW January 22 – 27 – SOLD OUT
  3. March 12-17 (March break) - SOLD OUT
  4. NEW – April 2 – 7  – Only 3 spaces left
  5. May 7 – 12 – SOLD OUT
  6. July 9-14 – Only 4 spaces left
  7. August 13-18 – Spaces available
  8. October 15-20 – Spaces available
FMCSA Ensures Drug, Alcohol Clearinghouse Remains In Place

Article Source: School Transportation News (US)
Article Date: January 12, 2017

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has corrected a portion of last year’s final rule concerning the establishment of new minimum training standards for obtaining a commercial driver's license (CDL). 

The correction fixes the instruction and associated regulatory text to preserve the recent changes published in the final rule addressing the Commercial Driver's License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse

The final rule affects individuals applying for a CDL for the first time; upgrading their CDL; or obtaining a school bus, hazardous materials or passenger endorsement. 

The Clearinghouse is a database that contains information on individuals who violate the U.S. Department of Transportation controlled substances and alcohol testing program. 

Beginning February 2020, state driver licensing agencies are required to query the Clearinghouse when a CDL is issued, renewed, transferred or upgraded.  

In addition, employers are mandated to use the database to clear prospective employees of violations before allowing them to operate a commercial motor vehicle on public roads and annually check the status of drivers they currently employ.  

The agency made these corrections to ensure the original language in the Clearinghouse final rule remained in effect.
Precious Cargo: TSD Keynote Offers Bus Driver Perspective

Article Source: School Transportation News (Canada & US)
Article Date: January 11, 2017

I am not sure how a lot of people come to drive a school bus. I imagine those personal vectors are as diverse as the drivers themselves. My own path was clearly delineated, with a single guiding objective: I desperately needed a job.

I was living in Calgary, in western Canada. My savings, already slim, were dwindling to nothingness. After a disastrous job interview in which I tried (and failed) to find work as a cafeteria supervisor at a local middle school, I returned home to find a flyer in my mailbox.


If you’d told my 18-year-old self that my 31-year-old self would be contemplating driving a school bus, my younger self may have been appalled. That younger self had anticipated a life of romance, wild adventures and derring-do, each new excitement outdoing the last.

Ah, but isn't that the privilege of youth? To wish for such things?

In truth, and simply, at that point in my life I needed a gig. My eighteen-year-old self would just have to learn to cope with the disappointment.

Here’s the thing, though: I could not have fathomed just how fun, how sometimes shattering, but ultimately how transformative driving a school bus could be.

You hear it said. Life-changing. Your mind immediately directs itself towards the question: What experiences could be so monumental as to alter the course of someone’s life—to challenge them, shape them, and make them think in new ways? Most people assume it those experiences would surely involve galvanic occurrences: climbing Mount Kilimanjaro or running with the bulls in Pamplona or having a child or falling riotously in love.

And while those things most certainly are life-altering—at least, they hold that potential—events that change lives can also happen more gradually and on a smaller scale.

For me, that change happened while driving a bus.

It was not a big bus, but a small one. A bussette, as they’re known. Or a short bus, though I don’t much care for that term. How did it transpire that I drove that particular bus, that route, and those five children? Like so many instances in life, it was pure luck. It was the route closest to my house.

Now, I’ll admit that I thought for a while before accepting the route. I’d never worked with, or had a family member or friend, who fell under the wide and diverse umbrella of having a “special need.” My fear was one that I discovered many people harbor: Am I the right sort of person? Do I have the capabilities and understandings? These are not unfair questions to ask of oneself. But ultimately I decided that, if it turned out I did not have those capabilities—or could not foster them in short order—then I’d ask to be assigned to a different route, as that forecasted to be better for all concerned.

As I discovered (and this was only the first of a great many discoveries that year), the “capabilities” I felt I’d need in order to be a suitable driver for these children were pretty much the same ones required to drive any children. Those being: a sense of humor, forbearance when it was needed, the ability to offer guidance where applicable, and more than anything an openness to circumstances as they may arise. A flexibility of character to deal with the kinds of situations one finds themselves in when around kids. That was all. No more.

And so, yes, the year transformed me. To a great degree, those kids and the time we spent together—first on, and then later off the bus—changed me. All for the better. I could not be more grateful for that experience.

And to think it all started with a flyer randomly dropped in my mailbox.
Register Now for P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Programs!

If you haven’t already registered, there is one space available in the Feb. 2, 2017 P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program. Link to the registration form:  

The remaining 2017 Recertification Program dates are:
  1. April 27
  2. June 21
  3. July 8
  4. October 26
  5. December 6 
The P.R.I.D.E. Recertification program is only one day of classroom training plus pre-course study/preparation work.  It focuses on recertifying Signing Authorities (SA’s) on the principles and techniques of effective adult education in a commercial vehicle driver trainer context. Recertification is valid for a period of five years.  

Both P.R.I.D.E. Programs are held at the Admiral Inn Burlington,  Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information - please visit or contact
Students Transform School Bus Into Gift for Teacher’s Developmentally Challenged Daughter

Article Source: Good News Network (Westmoreland, TN)
Article Date: January 14, 2017

12-year-old Gabrielle Howell is the beloved daughter of a high school teacher – so when all she wanted for Christmas was her own school bus for playtime, her mother’s students decided to rise to the occasion.

Diagnosed with a rare brain disorder known as bilateral periventricular nodular heterotopia, which causes Gabrielle to mentally develop much slower than other children. Although she exhibits the mind of a 3-year-old, Gabby is still adored by all her mom’s students.

Teacher Amy Howell mentioned the unusual school bus gift request in passing to her health care class at Gallatin High School. One of the students, Jessica Smith, decided to investigate the possibility of actually finding a school bus for the family.

Once she discovered a local bus for sale, Jessica created a GoFundMe campaign to cover its purchase and the costs for renovation. She next had the vehicle towed to the school’s football field where a team of volunteers worked every day to revitalize the shabby machine.

By the time Christmas Eve rolled around, the students – with a little help from Santa – had parked the bus in the Howell family’s yard. What was once a crumbling hunk of junk had become a cozy little clubhouse complete with chairs, art supplies, curtains, and carpeting. Gabby has reportedly barely left the sanctuary since its delivery on Christmas.
Upcoming Events

Jan. 15-20 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program - SOLD OUT
Jan. 22-27 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program - SOLD OUT
Jan. 25 OSBA Webinar
Feb. 2 P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program
Mar. 2 OSBA Webinar
Mar. 12-17 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program - SOLD OUT
Apr. 2-7 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program 
Apr. 9-12 2017 Ontario Transportation Expo – Conference and Trade Show
Apr. 27 P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program
May 1-5 Alberta Student Transportation Advisory Council (ASTAC) Convention
May 7-12 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program - SOLD OUT
May 17 OSBA Webinar
June 21 P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program
July 9-14 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program
Aug. 12 P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program
Aug. 13-18 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program
Oct. 15-20 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program
Oct. 16-20 National School Bus Safety Week
Oct. 18 Professional School Bus Driver Appreciation Day
Oct. 25 OSBA Webinar
Oct. 26 P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program
Dec. 6 P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program
May 13-16 Canadian Pupil Transportation Conference (CPTC)
Copyright © 2017 Ontario School Bus Association
All rights reserved.  This publication is intended for the exclusive use of OSBA Members.  Reproduction without prior permission is prohibited.

Contact OSBA:
3075 Lenworth Drive, Mississauga, ON, L4X 2G3
Tel.416.695.9965 Fax 416.695.9977 |
Please address all enquiries and submissions to  Opinions expressed do not necessarily express the opinions of the OSBA or its Board of Directors. Nor does acceptance of advertising constitute endorsement.

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School Bus Ontario (SBO) · 3075 Lenworth Drive · Mississauga, ON L4X 2G3 · Canada

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