Governor Quinn recently signed into law Public Acts 96-0962, 96-1066 and 96-1182 which amend the Illinois Vehicle Code as it relates to school bus drivers and school buses.

Public Act 96-0962 and Public Act 96-1182 – Prohibited Criminal Convictions for Bus Drivers

Section 6-106.1 of the Illinois Vehicle Code previously prohibited applicants seeking school bus driver permits from having convictions of reckless driving, driving while intoxicated or reckless homicide while driving a motor vehicle within three years of the application date. Public Act 96-0962 amends this section by adding convictions of aggravated reckless driving, driving while under the influence of alcohol, other drug or drugs, intoxicating compound or compounds or any combination thereof resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle.

Public Act 96-1182 provides that an applicant for a commercial driver’s license (CDL) with a school bus driver endorsement or school bus driver permit may not apply for such a license if he or she has been convicted of committing or attempting to commit certain criminal offenses that had not been previously identified in this section of the Vehicle Code. Those criminals offenses include some of the following: murder for hire; luring a minor; solicitation to meet a child; keeping a place of juvenile prostitution; patronizing a juvenile prostitute; aggravated child pornography; child pornography by a sex offender; grooming; travelling to meet a minor; aggravated battery of a senior citizen; drug induced infliction of aggravated battery to a child athlete; cyberstalking; and other offenses related to the use and possession of guns and drugs, including certain offenses defined in the Methamphetamine Precursor Control Act.

Public Act 96-1066 – Use of Cellular Radio Telecommunication Device

P.A. 096-1066 amends the Illinois Vehicle Code to permit bus drivers to use cellular radio telecommunication devices to communicate with school authorities about any issue relating to the operation of the school bus or the welfare and safety of any bus passenger. This amendment also requires a school bus to have an operating cellular radio telecommunication device or two-way radio and have either adjusted in a manner that will alert the bus driver of an incoming communication. Any pre- and post-trip inspection policy must contain language that requires school bus drivers to test the cellular radio telecommunication device, in addition to the two-way radio, to ensure that it is functioning properly before the bus is operated.

All Acts are effective immediately.