130th Ohio General Assembly
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H. B. No. 557  As Introduced
As Introduced

129th General Assembly
Regular Session
2011-2012
H. B. No. 557


Representative Gerberry 

Cosponsors: Representatives Fedor, Murray, Fende, Milkovich 



A BILL
To amend sections 4511.63, 4511.76, 4511.761, 4511.762, 4511.764, 4511.77, and 4511.79 and to enact section 4511.765 of the Revised Code to establish inspection and repair standards for wheelchair lifts installed on vehicles used for pupil transportation.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF OHIO:
Section 1. That sections 4511.63, 4511.76, 4511.761, 4511.762, 4511.764, 4511.77, and 4511.79 be amended and section 4511.765 of the Revised Code be enacted to read as follows:
Sec. 4511.63.  (A) Except as provided in division (B) of this section, the operator of any bus, any school vehicle, or any vehicle transporting a material or materials required to be placarded under 49 C.F.R. Parts 100-185, before crossing at grade any track of a railroad, shall stop the vehicle and, while so stopped, shall listen through an open door or open window and look in both directions along the track for any approaching train, and for signals indicating the approach of a train, and shall proceed only upon exercising due care after stopping, looking, and listening as required by this section. Upon proceeding, the operator of such a vehicle shall cross only in a gear that will ensure there will be no necessity for changing gears while traversing the crossing and shall not shift gears while crossing the tracks.
(B) This section does not apply at grade crossings when the public utilities commission has authorized and approved an exempt crossing as provided in this division.
(1) Any local authority may file an application with the commission requesting the approval of an exempt crossing. Upon receipt of such a request, the commission shall authorize a limited period for the filing of comments by any party regarding the application and then shall conduct a public hearing in the community seeking the exempt crossing designation. The commission shall provide appropriate prior public notice of the comment period and the public hearing. By registered mail, the commission shall notify each railroad operating over the crossing of the comment period.
(2) After considering any comments or other information received, the commission may approve or reject the application. By order, the commission may establish conditions for the exempt crossing designation, including compliance with division (b) of 49 C.F.R. Part 392.10, when applicable. An exempt crossing designation becomes effective only when appropriate signs giving notice of the exempt designation are erected at the crossing as ordered by the commission and any other conditions ordered by the commission are satisfied.
(3) By order, the commission may rescind any exempt crossing designation made under this section if the commission finds that a condition at the exempt crossing has changed to such an extent that the continuation of the exempt crossing designation compromises public safety. The commission may conduct a public hearing to investigate and determine whether to rescind the exempt crossing designation. If the commission rescinds the designation, it shall order the removal of any exempt crossing signs and may make any other necessary order.
(C) As used in this section:
(1) "School vehicle" means any vehicle used for the transportation of pupils to and from a school or school-related function if the vehicle is owned or operated by, or operated under contract with, a public or nonpublic school.
(2) "Bus" means any vehicle originally designed by its manufacturer to transport sixteen or more passengers, including the driver, or carries sixteen or more passengers, including the driver.
(3) "Exempt crossing" means a highway rail grade crossing authorized and approved by the public utilities commission under division (B) of this section at which vehicles may cross without making the stop otherwise required by this section.
(D) Except as otherwise provided in this division, whoever violates this section is guilty of a minor misdemeanor. If the offender previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to one or more violations of this section or section 4511.76, 4511.761, 4511.762, 4511.764, 4511.765, 4511.77, or 4511.79 of the Revised Code or a municipal ordinance that is substantially similar to any of those sections, whoever violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.
Sec. 4511.76.  (A)(1) The department of public safety, by and with the advice of the superintendent of public instruction, shall adopt and enforce rules relating to the construction, design, and equipment, including lighting equipment required by section 4511.771 of the Revised Code, of all school buses both publicly and privately owned and operated in this state.
(B)(2) The department of education, by and with the advice of the director of public safety, shall adopt and enforce rules relating to the operation of all vehicles used for pupil transportation.
(B) The department of public safety shall adopt and enforce rules related to the inspection of each wheelchair lift installed on a vehicle used for pupil transportation. In adopting the rules, the department may consult with any manufacturer of a wheelchair lift that is installed on a vehicle used for pupil transportation.
The rules shall require each wheelchair lift installed on a vehicle used for pupil transportation to be inspected by a person certified by the original manufacturer of the wheelchair lift if that manufacturer is available to certify inspectors for its wheelchair lifts. The rules shall establish guidelines for alternative certification of inspectors if a wheelchair lift manufacturer is not available to certify inspectors for its wheelchair lifts. The rules may establish standards to verify and maintain certification of an inspector.
The department shall develop and provide the form to be used by a certified inspector when attesting that a wheelchair lift installed on a vehicle used for pupil transportation is in compliance with the rules adopted under this section.
Inspection of a wheelchair lift on a vehicle used for pupil transportation by a person certified as provided in rules adopted under this section may be in addition to the state highway patrol inspection of a wheelchair lift as part of a school bus inspection under section 4511.761 of the Revised Code.
(C) No person shall operate a vehicle used for pupil transportation within this state in violation of the rules of the department of education or the department of public safety. No person, being the owner thereof or having the supervisory responsibility therefor, shall permit the operation of a vehicle used for pupil transportation within this state in violation of the rules of the department of education or the department of public safety.
(D) The department of public safety shall adopt and enforce rules relating to the issuance of a license under section 4511.763 of the Revised Code. The rules may relate to the moral character of the applicant; the condition of the equipment to be operated; the liability and property damage insurance carried by the applicant; the posting of satisfactory and sufficient bond; and such other rules as the director of public safety determines reasonably necessary for the safety of the pupils to be transported.
(E) As used in this section, "vehicle used for pupil transportation" means any vehicle that is identified as such by the department of education by rule and that is subject to Chapter 3301-83 of the Administrative Code.
(F) Except as otherwise provided in this division, whoever violates this section is guilty of a minor misdemeanor. If the offender previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to one or more violations of this section or section 4511.63, 4511.761, 4511.762, 4511.764, 4511.765, 4511.77, or 4511.79 of the Revised Code or a municipal ordinance that is substantially similar to any of those sections, whoever violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.
Sec. 4511.761.  (A) The state highway patrol shall inspect every school bus to ascertain whether its construction, design, and equipment comply with the regulations adopted pursuant to section 4511.76 of the Revised Code and all other provisions of law.
The superintendent of the state highway patrol shall adopt a distinctive inspection decal not less than twelve inches in size, and bearing the date of the inspection, which shall be affixed to the outside surface of each side of each school bus which upon such inspection is found to comply with the regulations adopted pursuant to section 4511.76 of the Revised Code. The appearance of said decal shall be changed from year to year as to shape and color in order to provide easy visual inspection. No decal shall be issued for a vehicle equipped with a wheelchair lift unless the wheelchair lift has been inspected as required under section 4511.765 of the Revised Code and the certificate attesting to compliance with the rules governing wheelchair lift inspection is presented to the person conducting the school bus inspection under this section.
No person shall operate, nor shall any person being the owner thereof or having supervisory responsibility therefor permit the operation of, a school bus within this state unless there are displayed thereon the decals issued by the state highway patrol bearing the proper date of inspection for the calendar year for which the inspection decals were issued.
(B) Except as otherwise provided in this division, whoever violates this section is guilty of a minor misdemeanor. If the offender previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to one or more violations of this section or section 4511.63, 4511.76, 4511.762, 4511.764, 4511.765, 4511.77, or 4511.79 of the Revised Code or a municipal ordinance that is substantially similar to any of those sections, whoever violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.
(C) Whenever a person is found guilty in a court of record of a violation of this section, the trial judge, in addition to or independent of all other penalties provided by law, may suspend for any period of time not exceeding three years, or cancel the license of any person, partnership, association, or corporation, issued under section 4511.763 of the Revised Code.
Sec. 4511.762.  (A) Except as provided in division (B) of this section, no person who is the owner of a bus that previously was registered as a school bus that is used or is to be used exclusively for purposes other than the transportation of children, shall operate the bus or permit it to be operated within this state unless the bus has been painted a color different from that prescribed for school buses by section 4511.77 of the Revised Code and painted in such a way that the words "stop" and "school bus" are obliterated.
(B) Any church bus that previously was registered as a school bus and is registered under section 4503.07 of the Revised Code may retain the paint color prescribed for school buses by section 4511.77 of the Revised Code if the bus complies with all of the following:
(1) The words "school bus" required by section 4511.77 of the Revised Code are covered or obliterated and the bus is marked on the front and rear with the words "church bus" painted in black lettering not less than ten inches in height;
(2) The automatically extended stop warning sign required by section 4511.75 of the Revised Code is removed and the word "stop" required by section 4511.77 of the Revised Code is covered or obliterated;
(3) The flashing red and amber lights required by section 4511.771 of the Revised Code are covered or removed;
(4) The inspection decal required by section 4511.761 of the Revised Code is covered or removed;
(5) The identification number assigned under section 4511.764 of the Revised Code and marked in black lettering on the front and rear of the bus is covered or obliterated.
(C) Except as otherwise provided in this division, whoever violates this section is guilty of a minor misdemeanor. If the offender previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to one or more violations of this section or section 4511.63, 4511.76, 4511.761, 4511.764, 4511.765, 4511.77, or 4511.79 of the Revised Code or a municipal ordinance that is substantially similar to any of those sections, whoever violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.
(D) Whenever a person is found guilty in a court of record of a violation of this section, the trial judge, in addition to or independent of all other penalties provided by law, may suspend for any period of time not exceeding three years, or cancel the license of any person, partnership, association, or corporation, issued under section 4511.763 of the Revised Code.
Sec. 4511.764.  (A) The superintendent of the state highway patrol shall require school buses to be registered, in the name of the owner, with the state highway patrol on forms and in accordance with regulations as the superintendent may adopt.
When the superintendent is satisfied that the registration has been completed, the superintendent shall assign an identifying number to each school bus registered in accordance with this section. The number so assigned shall be marked on the front and rear of the vehicle in black lettering not less than six inches in height and will remain unchanged as long as the ownership of that vehicle remains the same.
No person shall operate, nor shall any person, being the owner thereof or having supervisory responsibility therefor, permit the operation of a school bus within this state unless there is displayed thereon an identifying number in accordance with this section.
(B) Except as otherwise provided in this division, whoever violates this section is guilty of a minor misdemeanor. If the offender previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to one or more violations of section 4511.63, 4511.76, 4511.761, 4511.762, 4511.765, 4511.77, or 4511.79 of the Revised Code or a municipal ordinance that is substantially similar to any of those sections, whoever violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.
Sec. 4511.765. (A) In addition to annual inspection by the state highway patrol under section 4511.761 of the Revised Code, each wheelchair lift installed on a vehicle used for pupil transportation shall be inspected annually by a person certified as provided in rules of the department of public safety under section 4511.76 of the Revised Code to ascertain whether its construction, design, and equipment comply with rules adopted under that section. For each wheelchair lift inspected and found to be in compliance with rules adopted under section 4511.76 of the Revised Code, the certified inspector shall sign a form provided by the department of public safety attesting to the compliance, which form shall be presented to the state highway patrol whenever the vehicle is inspected under section 4511.761 of the Revised Code.
(B) Any repair of a wheelchair lift on a vehicle used for pupil transportation shall be made by a person certified as provided in rules adopted under section 4511.76 of the Revised Code. A person who is not certified may perform routine maintenance on a wheelchair lift.
(C) No person shall operate, nor shall any person being the owner thereof or having supervisory responsibility therefor, permit the operation of, a vehicle used for pupil transportation that is equipped with a wheelchair lift unless the wheelchair lift has passed inspection as required by this section.
(D) Except as otherwise provided in this division, whoever violates this section is guilty of a minor misdemeanor. If the offender previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to one or more violations of this section or section 4511.63, 4511.76, 4511.761, 4511.762, 4511.764, 4511.77, or 4511.79 of the Revised Code or a municipal ordinance that is substantially similar to any of those sections, whoever violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.
(E) Whenever a person is found guilty in a court of record of a violation of this section, the trial judge, in addition to or independent of all other penalties provided by law, may suspend for any period of time not exceeding three years, or cancel, the license of any person, partnership, association, or corporation, issued under section 4511.763 of the Revised Code.
Sec. 4511.77.  (A) No person shall operate, nor shall any person being the owner thereof or having supervisory responsibility therefor permit the operation of, a school bus within this state unless it is painted national school bus yellow and is marked on both front and rear with the words "school bus" in black lettering not less than eight inches in height and on the rear of the bus with the word "stop" in black lettering not less than ten inches in height.
(B) Except as otherwise provided in this division, whoever violates this section is guilty of a minor misdemeanor. If the offender previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to one or more violations of this section or section 4511.63, 4511.76, 4511.761, 4511.762, 4511.764, 4511.765, or 4511.79 of the Revised Code or a municipal ordinance that is substantially similar to any of those sections, whoever violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.
(C) Whenever a person is found guilty in a court of record of a violation of this section, the trial judge, in addition to or independent of all other penalties provided by law, may suspend for any period of time not exceeding three years, or cancel the license of any person, partnership, association, or corporation, issued under section 4511.763 of the Revised Code.
Sec. 4511.79.  (A) No person shall drive a "commercial motor vehicle" as defined in section 4506.01 of the Revised Code, or a "commercial car" or "commercial tractor," as defined in section 4501.01 of the Revised Code, while the person's ability or alertness is so impaired by fatigue, illness, or other causes that it is unsafe for the person to drive such vehicle. No driver shall use any drug which would adversely affect the driver's ability or alertness.
(B) No owner, as defined in section 4501.01 of the Revised Code, of a "commercial motor vehicle," "commercial car," or "commercial tractor," or a person employing or otherwise directing the driver of such vehicle, shall require or knowingly permit a driver in any such condition described in division (A) of this section to drive such vehicle upon any street or highway.
(C) Except as otherwise provided in this division, whoever violates this section is guilty of a minor misdemeanor. If the offender previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to one or more violations of this section or section 4511.63, 4511.76, 4511.761, 4511.762, 4511.764, 4511.765, or 4511.77 of the Revised Code or a municipal ordinance that is substantially similar to any of those sections, whoever violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.
Section 2. That existing sections 4511.63, 4511.76, 4511.761, 4511.762, 4511.764, 4511.77, and 4511.79 of the Revised Code are hereby repealed.
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