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Old 09-25-2021, 03:18 AM   #1
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Exclamation Legality of operating a school bus; flashers and stop arms

This should be a sticky IMO. TL;DR warning

I was browsing YouTube skoolie builds and found that a person featured on a skoolie channel left the stop sign arm on their bus, don't do that. It's illegal in many jurisdictions. I've warned that skoolie social media entity of the ramifications of keeping the stop sign arm on the vehicle. If they want to leave it there and get the "I told you so." from me because I see they didn't heed my warning to them that's on them.

I'm posting this as a PSA to those who are going to buy a school bus for a conversion to keep all new skoolie community members legal and out of trouble. All it takes is one law enforcement officer in a bad mood or who is corrupt to throw the book at you in a citation, arrest and impound of your newly purchased school bus. The citation can cost you quite a bit in court to defend and you may have to hire a lawyer. That's money you will not recover. You'll need all of the money for your RV conversion.
---
I'm a former school bus driver and behind the wheel trainer in two States; CA and NV. I started my transportation career as a driver for the San Diego Unified School District. CA school bus certificates were the prelude and standard for the class S endorsement nationwide. When I took my behind the wheel exam in 1991, it was with a member of CHP. That's how strict it was in CA to get a school bus certificate. You had to pretty much be a paralegal of the CA vehicle code and Federal Motor Carrier regulations on operation of a commercial vehicle and a school bus. There's been talk about giving school bus drivers citing authority against drivers who run their stop arms. I ended my transportation career in 1998. I'm sure that discussion of citing authority is still going on. During my career, law enforcement agencies were treating the school bus driver's complaint of someone running their stop sign arms like a traffic cam and we had a form to submit to our dispatch or supervisor and local law enforcement or State police/highway patrol would handle it from there.

Some States require the stop sign arm, overhead flashers to be removed and "SCHOOL BUS" blocked out on the front and back of the bus. Until that's done, you're operating a statutory commercial vehicle that's recognized throughout the USA. If you don't do that and don't have a CDL with the appropriate endorsements, you can be cited for operating a commercial vehicle without a license.

The penalty for operating a commercial vehicle without a license is much stiffer than operating a noncommercial vehicle without a license as you're considered to be a greater hazard to public safety. This is something that's possibly a felony in some jurisdictions. I haven't looked into it as my transportation career is over and I surrendered my CDL in 2013 for medical reasons.

If the bus is sold to be used for noncommercial purposes (i.e. RV conversion). I strongly encourage that be the first thing that someone does when they buy a school bus to repurpose to avoid any legal entanglements such as getting cited or getting pulled over and ideally do that at the time they take possession of the bus;
  • Cover "SCHOOL BUS" on the front and back between the amber/red overhead lights; bring a can of yellow spray paint or tape.
  • Disable the stop sign arm(s) or at least cover it up while folded. A large pizza box and tape should do the job or bring a toolset to remove the stop sign arm.
  • Cover the overhead amber and red signals.
Bring a step ladder so you can do those things so you're 100% legal and you're operating just an unregistered yellow bus that's going to be converted to an RV which exempts the driver from having a CDL. If you do these things, if you get pulled over, the officer will likely cut you some slack as they know you're complying with the law and your intent is to convert the bus to a noncommercial RV.

Law enforcement, especially commercial enforcement, will pull over anyone that they suspect does not have a CDL that's operating a commercial vehicle. If you're lucky, they'll let off with a warning or they may require that you that you need to do the above to further operate the bus and make you do it immediately or call a tow truck. They also have the option of impounding the bus and make you do that at their impound yard.

If you're new to operating a large vehicle, plan your route to your next destination ahead of time and avoid hills and mountains especially if you're not use to driving on them in a large vehicle or you'll find out what those run away truck ramps are for when your brakes start to fail.

If you need or want to test the stop arm sign and overhead signals, do it on private property ideally at the time you pick up the bus. I also encourage everyone to pick up your State's commercial driver handbook or watch a YT video on how to do pretrip inspection of a school bus so you know it's safe to drive to your next destination. Your bigger school busses have air brakes; learn how air brakes operate and how to inspect them and how to drain the air tanks. If you don't drain them, the moisture in the air can freeze.

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Old 09-25-2021, 05:05 AM   #2
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Amen to all of this. I've never actually seen it on this forum, but I've seen a lot of skoolies on Youtube, FB, Instagram etc. that leave the yellow, 8-ways, "school bus" and stop signs intact and then cruise the country. School buses do seem to be invisible to LEOs but that's begging for trouble.

It would be cool to give drivers citing authority. I've always been angered by people blowing past school buses with their red 8-ways and stop signs activated, but now that I'm a driver myself (starting Monday, at least) it makes me 10X as angry. During my training, literally every time I did a railroad crossing (where a school bus is legally required to stop and activate their 4-ways) somebody went around me on the left, which is not just illegal but amazingly, amazingly stupid. Apparently all the new buses purchased or leased in my district are going to come with 360 camera systems that will photograph offenders and automatically issue citations. Pretty cool although I would prefer mounted machine guns.
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Old 09-25-2021, 06:21 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
Amen to all of this. I've never actually seen it on this forum, but I've seen a lot of skoolies on Youtube, FB, Instagram etc. that leave the yellow, 8-ways, "school bus" and stop signs intact and then cruise the country. School buses do seem to be invisible to LEOs but that's begging for trouble.

It would be cool to give drivers citing authority. I've always been angered by people blowing past school buses with their red 8-ways and stop signs activated, but now that I'm a driver myself (starting Monday, at least) it makes me 10X as angry. During my training, literally every time I did a railroad crossing (where a school bus is legally required to stop and activate their 4-ways) somebody went around me on the left, which is not just illegal but amazingly, amazingly stupid. Apparently all the new buses purchased or leased in my district are going to come with 360 camera systems that will photograph offenders and automatically issue citations. Pretty cool although I would prefer mounted machine guns.
i've been advising folks to ditch all that stuff for years. But this is skoolie we're talking.
Almost everyone always says they want it to still be as much like a school bus as possible.
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Old 09-25-2021, 06:48 AM   #4
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Exclamation They've been warned.

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Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
Amen to all of this. ​I've never actually seen it on this forum, but I've seen a lot of skoolies on Youtube, FB, Instagram etc. that leave the yellow, 8-ways, "school bus" and stop signs intact and then cruise the country.
It's about time someone did. This is roughly legally equivalent to operating a police car with lights and a siren and you're not a police officer. That's an impersonation of an officer charge; a felony in practically all jurisdictions.

I've warned them. I know of some CHP officers and NV DPS State Troopers in commercial enforcement who will take a skoolie out behind the woods and make them squeal like a pig with their citation book and a possible felony charge and conviction if they don't follow my legal guidelines. If they want to be an example, so be it. I'll be the first to say "I told you so."

I'm a retired professional and know the law and what someone can be potentially arrested and charged with for operating a statutory school bus without the proper CDL and endorsements.
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Old 09-25-2021, 07:08 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
i've been advising folks to ditch all that stuff for years. But this is skoolie we're talking.
Almost everyone always says they want it to still be as much like a school bus as possible.
If they want to be stupid, let them. I know of several NHP Troopers in commercial enforcement and CHP officers that will educate them on the law by tossing their cite book at them and arrest them and impound their statutory school bus. It can happen.

It doesn't matter, it's illegal and that won't change because a statutory school bus is basically a statutory mobile traffic signal in all States. If they want to hang themselves with a possible felony conviction with the possibility of losing their license so be it. I've put the skoolie community on paralegal notice, don't do this unless you want a big legal battle you will lose with possible jail time and a suspended or revoked driver license.

You have to do the same thing with ambulances and other first responder vehicles. Disable the siren and red and blue lights or you're opening yourself up for major legal issues.

I'm perfectly happy just driving the bus. Any school bus driver will tell you, we hate being a traffic cop. It's often times like herding kittens but by law I was required to do that during my transportation career as a school bus driver.

Every school bus driver, or most of them, will tell you they enjoy driving the bus empty. One of my driver trainers back in 1991 held up the tire thumper used for pretrip inspections and told us as a curmudgeon joke is it's for pupil management. There are lots of curmudgeon jokes between school bus drivers. I have quite a few war stories during my driving career.

A professional school bus driver, or any commercial driver does it primarily for the enjoyment of driving a large vehicle; not because of their other job duties. Poll school bus drivers, they'll tell you what I'm saying is true. Truckers will say the same thing. They hate picking up and dropping off their cargo, but enjoy transporting it.

The bottom line is that this PSA needs to be spread like wildfire before skoolies get popped. It will happen eventually.
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Old 09-25-2021, 07:47 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by LVLouisCyphre View Post
All it takes is one law enforcement officer in a bad mood or who is corrupt to throw the book at you in a citation, arrest and impound of your newly purchased school bus.
Hello Louis and welcome to the forum.

I very much agree that new bus owners should learn about their new vehicle and the brakes and important safety equipment. Your warning is good and should be heeded.

I might take exception, though, with the idea that an officer could arrest a driver and impound a bus for driving it with the stop sign folded back on the side. I'm not familiar with the laws in all states, so I'd be interested in a link to the code/statute you're referring to...please. In most states, the definition of a commercial motor vehicle is based upon weight and use (for example, carrying 16 or more persons). I've not ever seen a law which includes references to the sign or wording in the CMV definition, but I'm always learning...so if you can share one, I'd like to read that.

In Arizona, for example, there is a statute which requires that "the private owner shall repaint the motor vehicle a different color and obliterate all official painted insignia"...but this is a civil violation, for which no arrest or impound could be made. If someone had the stop sign out, trying to stop traffic, they could be cited for directing or controlling traffic without authority...but that's also a civil violation, not criminal. And of course, like most states, Arizona law prohibits red lights to the front...and the statute does also mention "lens"...so it would be a violation to have the front red lights on (and would be prudent to paint or cover the red lenses), but that's also a civil violation only.

States do tend to follow national models, so there's some consistency, but not all do. I'm sure CA is more strict than Arizona. Please share the CA or NV laws you're referring to, as I do end up driving through those states often. In fact, I'll be delivering a bus to CA next week. It's good to be informed and accurate, so I look forward to reading the actual laws. Please and thank you!

EDIT: I should add that, in Arizona, school bus drivers can also file a report of a violation for passing the school bus while they are stopped and loading/unloading. That report results in an informational letter being sent to the registered owner of the vehicle.

I also neglected to include the definition of a school bus from our statutes.

ARS 28-101.59. "School bus" means a motor vehicle that is designed for carrying more than ten passengers and that is either:

(a) Owned by any public or governmental agency or other institution and operated for the transportation of children to or from home or school on a regularly scheduled basis.

(b) Privately owned and operated for compensation for the transportation of children to or from home or school on a regularly scheduled basis.


In most cases (probably all?) our skoolie doesn't meet this definition of a school bus.
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Old 09-25-2021, 08:25 AM   #7
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Hello Louis and welcome to the forum.
I very much agree that new bus owners should learn about their new vehicle and the brakes and important safety equipment. Your warning is good and should be heeded.

I might take exception, though, with the idea that an officer could arrest a driver and impound a bus for driving it with the stop sign folded back on the side.
It falls under the same guidelines as a driver operating any vehicle without a proper license. What's the officer going to do if the stopped driver can't get a properly licensed driver to operate any vehicle from the scene? It will be impounded. It's also at the discretion of the arresting or citing officer if they will allow the arrested or cited driver to get someone there to take legal operational custody of the vehicle.

This is probably well documented on the TV show Cops and possibly Donut Operator's YT channel. SOP (standard operating procedure) is if the operator or occupants of the vehicle can't take legal custody and operation of the vehicle if the operator is arrested or cited during a stop because they're not licensed to do so, it will be impounded. Ask any LEO (law enforcement officer).

Don't ask how I know this, it deals with my bail enforcement career and having to execute skips on moving vehicles. Let's just say vehicles were impounded during my arrest.

If a new skoolie owner gets pulled over and potentially arrested or cited for operating a non commercial vehicle without a license, they better have a CDL holder with a class S endorsement ready to take custody and operation of the vehicle or this may happen. I'm not saying it will, but it can.

Bottom line is if the arrested or cited operator for the violation mentioned can't reasonably provide someone who is properly licensed to operate the vehicle, it can be legally impounded by law enforcement. The CDL exemption only applies if you're driving an RV. If you're not driving an RV, you can get arrested or cited for operating a commercial vehicle without a license. I haven't gone through POST to be a LEO but I know the legal ramifications because of my commercial driving career and experience especially with school buses.

I'm giving y'all a worst case scenario and how to plan for it so it doesn't happen. I'm also warning people who keep the stop sign arms and overhead signal lights enabled. Bad idea.

Follow my guidelines and it will save you legal troubles. I know of LEOs who will bust skoolies in a heartbeat if they don't follow my guidelines which is why I posted this discussion. If you want to be an example, go for it; I'll just point "HA HA!" and say "I told you so." You might win the case but you'll be out unrecoverable legal fees to defend it.

Don't mess with it, remove the school bus specific crap or you may end up in court and possibly jail.
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Old 09-25-2021, 08:53 AM   #8
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It's very true that, if the driver is arrested, the vehicle might be impounded...but usually it will be safely parked somewhere nearby. Off the freeway, this is a common option.

I appreciate your cautions, but we also don't want to be alarmist and scare skoolie owners. It's important to know the law, which will vary from state to state. My goal in responding was to share the actual law in one state (mine, as an example) and show that a "school bus" which is not being used to transport kids for hire is no longer legally a school bus, so all of the requirements for the driver of a school bus don't apply.

CDL requirements might apply, based on the CMV definitions in a particular state, but that's a separate issue which we have discussed in other threads.

And, as I mentioned above, the red lighting or paint color issues might be citable offenses. But at least in any state I know of, the driver won't to go jail for those.

Like I said, though, I'm always open to learning so I'd appreciate a link to the statutes you mention.

By the way...this might be true: "I know of LEOs who will bust skoolies in a heartbeat if they don't follow my guidelines which is why I posted this discussion." My experience, however, is that most LEOs are just curious about the rig and jealous of the freedom. Skoolies can be cool.
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Old 09-25-2021, 10:19 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by rossvtaylor View Post
Hello Louis and welcome to the forum.

I very much agree that new bus owners should learn about their new vehicle and the brakes and important safety equipment. Your warning is good and should be heeded.

I might take exception, though, with the idea that an officer could arrest a driver and impound a bus for driving it with the stop sign folded back on the side. I'm not familiar with the laws in all states, so I'd be interested in a link to the code/statute you're referring to...please. In most states, the definition of a commercial motor vehicle is based upon weight and use (for example, carrying 16 or more persons). I've not ever seen a law which includes references to the sign or wording in the CMV definition, but I'm always learning...so if you can share one, I'd like to read that.

In Arizona, for example, there is a statute which requires that "the private owner shall repaint the motor vehicle a different color and obliterate all official painted insignia"...but this is a civil violation, for which no arrest or impound could be made. If someone had the stop sign out, trying to stop traffic, they could be cited for directing or controlling traffic without authority...but that's also a civil violation, not criminal. And of course, like most states, Arizona law prohibits red lights to the front...and the statute does also mention "lens"...so it would be a violation to have the front red lights on (and would be prudent to paint or cover the red lenses), but that's also a civil violation only.

States do tend to follow national models, so there's some consistency, but not all do. I'm sure CA is more strict than Arizona. Please share the CA or NV laws you're referring to, as I do end up driving through those states often. In fact, I'll be delivering a bus to CA next week. It's good to be informed and accurate, so I look forward to reading the actual laws. Please and thank you!

EDIT: I should add that, in Arizona, school bus drivers can also file a report of a violation for passing the school bus while they are stopped and loading/unloading. That report results in an informational letter being sent to the registered owner of the vehicle.

I also neglected to include the definition of a school bus from our statutes.

ARS 28-101.59. "School bus" means a motor vehicle that is designed for carrying more than ten passengers and that is either:

(a) Owned by any public or governmental agency or other institution and operated for the transportation of children to or from home or school on a regularly scheduled basis.

(b) Privately owned and operated for compensation for the transportation of children to or from home or school on a regularly scheduled basis.


In most cases (probably all?) our skoolie doesn't meet this definition of a school bus.
A man who thinks like I do. If it's privately owned, and has seating for less than 16, it is not considered a commercial vehicle any longer and CDL does not apply in most states. LVLC admits his theory is worst case senario, something 99% of us will not have to deal with if not acting like azzhat to begin with. With the millions of miles traveled each year in a Skoolie with signage or stop signs still attached, how many incedents have you actually heard of? Who on this forum has ever been ticketed for any of these items?
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Old 09-25-2021, 12:11 PM   #10
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I agree with everything mentioned in this thread. However, there's one very simple way to avoid this mess - just get your school bus (OK, ex-school bus) re-registered as a motor home. Almost any private vehicle registration service in CA will do this for you, then you won't have to deal with DMV staff who are unfamiliar with the process. This does assume, obviously, that the bus meets the criteria for being considered an RV, i.e. it has a loo, bed, kitchen, heater etc etc. When you have a registration certificate and a Pink Slip / title with the magic letters MH on it, you're clear of any legal risk. It's also assumed that the red lights / stop sign / lettering etc are removed, but that should be the first thing a new skoolie owner does anyway.

As regards National School Bus Yellow, there is a specific definition of that color: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_bus_yellow My interpretation of this if your bus's yellow is visibly faded and oxidized, such as my bus is now, then it no longer meets the definition of NSBY, and as such you are not breaking the law, at least on a technicality. Some years ago where I worked, during the annual CHP terminal inspection of our school buses the inspector told us that our two oldest buses' paint had faded so much that he wouldn't certify them the next year if we still had them in our fleet; we took them out of service very soon after that, mainly because of their age and overall condition, but being warned about their color was a strong incentive as well. And don't worry - I will be repainting my bus when the interior is finished, but that's not the priority right now!

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Old 09-25-2021, 05:19 PM   #11
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I'm not going to bother to research the CA vehicle code and NRS over it and give you my layman's legal opinion. Researching anything in CA law is like reading stereo installation instructions in a foreign language. If you don't do the decommissioning process I mentioned, you may be subject to a major legal battle.

My stance on this is don't be a test case. I deal with these legal discussions all the time as a CCW instructor. All it takes is a corrupt or bad mood LEO to make you a test case. If you want to be a test case, that's your choice and I'll be the first to say point and laugh and say "I told you so." especially if I warned you. If you're the test case, you may prevail in court, but what's it going to cost you? Potentially several thousand dollars in legal fees. Considering the ramifications of being charged of operating a commercial vehicle without a license. Also what's the judge going to say? The judge will likely order the modifications to the skoolie I mentioned so this doesn't happen again and also fine you because the judge is pissed off that the skoolie owner and operator didn't avoid this problem. Now we have case law that can be applied nationwide in future CDL Terry stops of skoolies who didn't do the decommissioning modifications I mentioned in my OP.

Remove everything as I have mentioned in my original post to avoid problems. That's my legal stance on entering the skoolie lifestyle or having a conversion. Deal with it now so you don't have to potentially deal with it later with a legal bill and impound towing fees on top of it. Any attorney will tell you this is problem avoidance 101 and you can be potentially cited and arrested and face impound for operating a commercial vehicle without a license in a worst case scenario.

Skoolies typically live a nomadic lifestyle. Do you want to be a test case outside of your State of domicile and dealing with that legal battle? You're going to have to stay in the jurisdiction to fight it. Might as well get an apartment there or rent spot in an RV park if your skoolie is released to you because you'll be likely required to appear in court. If your vehicle is impounded pending a trial, you will have to get a hotel room or apartment awaiting a court order or for you to find a CDL holder with a class S endorsement that can drive it out of the impound lot.

Avoid the problem to being with. Follow Mr. Miyagi's advice on avoiding a punch. "Best way to avoid punch, no be there."

Adhere to my advice, "best way to avoid citations and legal problems is no give probable cause."

This is an aside or tangent as a firearms instructor.
---
I've dealt with corrupt LEOs before when I knew I was well within a law driving from Vegas to Montana to teach a CCW class. I was pulled over on the side of the road for over 45 minutes in Bonneville County Idaho. It was an out of State plate Terry stop. Anyone who knows Idaho firearms law that they honor all States CCWs. I gave them the first CCW I had out of my wallet which was Florida knowing that Idaho honors all CCWs. They didn't cut me loose until I produced my Utah CFP and ran it. The funny thing is I was better armed on my body than the sheriffs deputies that were at the scene of the stop. When they disarmed me, it was like Mad Max entering Thunderdome.

When I got home to Vegas, I followed up with an attorney through Prepaid Legal. She confirmed it was a Terry stop fishing expedition. She confirmed that the BCSO deputies didn't bother to verify my CCW validity until I produced my Utah CFP. Since Idaho borders Utah, they're very aware that Idaho honors Utah. She advised me if that happens again to request a State trooper to respond to the scene and supervise the stop and educate corrupt local law enforcement on Idaho CCW recognition. It's also noted that Bonneville County has a long history of corruption. One of their recent DAs is doing prison time for corruption.

If you end up going through a black water tank county in a State where you're legal, you may face the worst case scenario. It falls under the same classification as speed traps.

Worst case scenarios happen when you do nothing wrong. If you want to be a test case, have at it.
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Old 09-25-2021, 05:48 PM   #12
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I agree with everything mentioned in this thread. However, there's one very simple way to avoid this mess
...
As regards National School Bus Yellow, there is a specific definition of that color: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_bus_yellow
There's no law that says a vehicle can't be painted school bus yellow if they're not a school bus. If there is, show me. School bus yellow is nothing special. I've seen Lambos and Jeeps painted school bus yellow. Some retired school bus drivers purposely order their vehicles in that color. I never said anything about national school bus yellow only the legality of the stop sign arm, overhead red/amber lights and "SCHOOL BUS" between the overhead lights.

My legal contention is public perception is if the vehicle can stop traffic and be a protentional public safety hazard by the use of their overhead lights and stop sign arm. If the vehicle can stop traffic, it's a statutory school bus. If I was a LEO or a prosecutor I'd put them through the legal meat grinder. If you have the overhead amber/reds and the stop arm, you can stop traffic and therefore a commercial school bus. The skoolie is a mobile traffic signal operating as a school bus and thus a commercial vehicle.

Some school districts do the decommissioning modifications I mentioned if it's not going to be continually used as a commercial school bus. Why? Because they're required to do so by law.

Don't be a test case.
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Old 09-25-2021, 06:27 PM   #13
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Hi Louis,

It's unfortunate that you seem to have had some bad experiences with law enforcement. You mentioned "bad mood" and "corrupt" a couple of times...and I find it sad that you perceive those to be potentially likely possibilities.

During my 2 decades as a police officer, for most of that with the Phoenix PD, I did work with one corrupt officer who was (it turns out) stealing parts from vehicles...and he got fired and prosecuted. And I worked with a couple of guys I would consider to be a$$holes, not people I liked being around. But in my 20 years, I had the honor of working with some of the finest people I have known. So, it's unfortunate that your life experiences have led you to the place where you think that a corrupt or pissed off officer will take out their anger on you and your school bus. I hope your next interaction is more positive.

Personally, even though I spent about 7 years of my career as a motor officer with a focus on traffic enforcement (collisions, DUI, etc) and I was also a vehicular crimes detective (investigating fatal and serious injury crashes)...and I also went through CVI (commercial vehicle inspection) training...I never once felt compelled to pull over a skoolie, let alone write the driver a citation.

I close with this observation about this thread and the tone. It seems alarmist and intended to scare skoolie drivers. As Marc mentioned, the scenario is unlikely and 99% of the people here in this group will never have to deal with it. Yes, it's wise to know the actual laws...which is why I asked you to share the ones you're referring to...but I don't think we need to get all dramatic about it. Certainly, a little apprehension is good any time we get behind the wheel of a large vehicle - that keeps us on our toes and helps prevent a lazy/lax approach to safety. So I appreciate your caution to know the law, and to follow it. But we ought not spend much time worrying about things which are highly unlikely to happen.

I wish you safe travels and positive police interactions in the future.

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Old 09-25-2021, 06:45 PM   #14
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I restored the School lights that had been destroyed by the previous owners of my Superior.. Police officer yesterday in a Sheetz station compliemented me on my nice classic restoration of the bus..



Every bus in our caravan this trip to illinois( and many other trips most of the busses have lights) we just took has installed amber / red or reds.. one of the busses is registered commercially as a party bus with a DOT number and its owner / driver has a CDL.. he has never been questioned about the red warning lights (which do work)...



None of the busses in the caravan said "school bus" on them even though a couple were still yellow..



we drove around in multiple busses parading through towns and this is common.. the most we ever get are thumbs up from police officers who think its cool we restore old busses back to original condition..
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Old 09-25-2021, 07:06 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LVLouisCyphre View Post
There's no law that says a vehicle can't be painted school bus yellow if they're not a school bus. If there is, show me. School bus yellow is nothing special.
https://codes.findlaw.com/ca/vehicle...ect-27603.html

I wouldn't be surprised if other states have similar codes.

Considering that you stated "I'm a former school bus driver and behind the wheel trainer in two States; CA and NV. I started my transportation career as a driver for the San Diego Unified School District", I'm more than a little surprised that you are evidently unaware of CVC 27603, and that you assert that NSBY is "nothing special".

Let's not all get our undergarments in a torsionally-aberrant state over this. In the real world your concerns, serious though they appear at first glance, may not be something that needs as much attention as you suggest.

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Old 09-25-2021, 07:08 PM   #16
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Location: Southern Oregon
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Six posts? Hmmmmm


IN YOUR STATE it might be illegal to have a stop arm on the bus or have it painted school bus yellow, or any number of things. It's also possible that you need a CDL or even an air brake endorsement to be legal.
HOWEVER if MY STATE says I can have a yellow bus, keep a functioning side stop side, drive without a CDL or air brakes endorsement, YOUR STATE has to recognize the legality of my title, registration, licensing, and the legality of my vehicle to travel over the road.

You'll find this in the Constitution of the US. You may have heard that it supersedes all state laws contrary to it.
Article IV, Section 1 (in relevant part) states that: "Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State."
That means my rig is subject to whatever laws are in effect in my state and that my drivers license is subject to the license provisions of my state. I can have a yellow bus, stop arm, working school bus flashers, etc. and I can drive my 31,800 GVW air brake equipped bus with a plain old car drivers license because it's registered as a motor home.
All other states are required to recognize that I am legal based on MY STATE regulations.

SO....folks should become familiar with the laws in THEIR STATE.
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Old 09-25-2021, 08:01 PM   #17
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When I went to retrieve my auction bought bus from the school district, the had not prepared it for "civilian use".
So while I waited, the drove it into the bus garage and spray bombed the nomenclature on the outside.
Removed the swing out stop sign completely. The hen pulled the fuses to disable the upper red and yellow lights.
Before I had it registered, I wired the upper front and rear yellows as turn signals and the upper rear reds as more brake lights.
Front upper reds remained dead but in place, not painted over or removed.
The state of Florida trooper doing the inspection and vin check liked the extra turn and brake lights.
Said as long as the front reds were not functional, they were okay as is.
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Old 09-26-2021, 07:52 AM   #18
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Exclamation Non-sequitur argument; NSBY

I'll get to the other commentary as time permits. I was going to do a multiquote consolidated response to everyone since my last comment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iceni John View Post
https://codes.findlaw.com/ca/vehicle...ect-27603.html

I wouldn't be surprised if other states have similar codes. I would as it's CA, the land of fruits, nuts and flakes. I'd expect to see similar codes and statutes in places such as IL, NJ and NY. There's a YT video of someone who is in NJ, he couldn't title and register his skoolie as an RV until he did the decommissioning process I mentioned and did a substantial completion of the interior as an RV with plumbing and a sleeping area. He cut off the back of the passenger area so it was so he had a vehicle to haul his custom Jeep in for offroading. Pretty nice build and a nice conversion using part of the skoolie as a flat bed to haul a large offroad vehicle.

Considering that you stated "I'm a former school bus driver and behind the wheel trainer in two States; CA and NV. I started my transportation career as a driver for the San Diego Unified School District", I'm more than a little surprised that you are evidently unaware of CVC 27603, and that you assert that NSBY is "nothing special".
I so love it when people throw in non-sequitur apples and oranges and irrelevant arguments into a discussion and then strengthen my argument.

Note the operative phrase on CVC 27603. The vehicle has to have been previously operated as a commercial school bus.

It states nothing about noncommercial vehicles that are painted NSBY being illegal in CA. I could drive a Lambo or a Jeep or buy a creepy old van painted NSBY and spray paint in black "Free candy" on it while driving it in an evil clown mask and go through fast food drive thrus handing the cashier a balloon with my credit card to pay for my drive thru order. Granted, I'd probably get pulled over for something else in the last instance, but not for the color of my vehicle that's never been a commercial school bus nor could it have ever been in the examples I mentioned above.

In CA, NSBY applies only to buses that have been previously operated as a commercial school bus so you've further fueled my argument, now you should also paint your bus a different color as you can get popped in CA for violating CVC 27603. So now that's an additional decommissioning criteria if you want to visit the land of fruits, nuts and flakes in your skoolie; make sure it's not NSBY.

I see decommissioned school buses all the time in my area that are still NSBY with their stop sign arms are removed along with the overhead lights and "SCHOOL BUS" between the overhead lights removed. The school district here is the fifth largest in the nation, they have a very large bus fleet with a regular fleet rotation. I don't know the service life of the fleet. I know with the expansion of CCSD, they've had to buy back buses that were sent out to auction because of the rapid growth of Clark County NV.

I never mentioned NSBY color; only the functional stop sign arm and overhead lights and "SCHOOL BUS" in between the overhead amber/red warning lights. My contention has been on the vehicle's ability to stop traffic with the overhead lights and functional stop sign arm. Motorists are going to pay attention to the stop sign arm and the overhead lights, not the color of the bus. We're all trained to stop when we see a stop sign. That's driving 101.
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Old 09-26-2021, 07:59 AM   #19
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Judging from the number of reports and incidents / serious accidents involving in-service school bus red-light runners no one pays attention to the stop arm or 8 way warning lights anyway..
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Old 09-26-2021, 04:48 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
It would be cool to give drivers citing authority.
I don't see that as viable in any way. The driver will have to appear in court on every ticket disputed. Even with a camera, the driver will have to appear in court as the accused has the right to cross examine their accuser.
Quote:
Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
During my training, literally every time I did a railroad crossing (where a school bus is legally required to stop and activate their 4-ways) somebody went around me on the left, which is not just illegal but amazingly, amazingly stupid.
"4-ways" implies FLASHING YELLOW. I am not aware of any jurisdiction in which passing a stopped vehicle with 4-ways on is illegal. All regs I'm aware of require the stopping vehicle, including school buses, to pull to the right when stopping at the crossing. Perhaps your jurisdiction is different but I would encourage you to look up the law yourself.

Now, if you meant your flashing reds, that's different.
And as for your training, I'd suggest you don't believe everything they say. Having been involved in a number of teaching programs, auditing teaching, and analysis of laws, there are a lot of things being taught that simply aren't true. That phenom crosses the boundaries of all disciplines from drivers education programs to weapons licensing to US History and everything in between.

Quote:
Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
Apparently all the new buses purchased or leased in my district are going to come with 360 camera systems that will photograph offenders and automatically issue citations.
It will be quite interesting when the drivers are subpoenaed and there's no one to drive the school buses. As well as maintaining the necessary certifications required for such systems, especially when in a mobile installation.
Some people just pay such ticket but many of us have learned to simply refuse to cooperate with the extortion racket and demand our day in court. Actually, we all need to do that, for EVERY charge of any level, and the system will grind to a halt.


All that said, I don't like those who pass flashing reds on a school bus either. I simply don't think automated systems are appropriate nor constitutional and their days are numbered for the issuance of citations.
Flashing yellows on the other hand? All they mean is CAUTION
And improperly deployed flashing reds? They mean fired driver.
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