A school bus is a type of bus used for student transport: carrying students to and from school, home, and school events. In North America, school buses are purpose-built vehicles distinguished from other types of buses by design characteristics mandated by federal and state regulations; most notably, the use of school bus yellow, allowed on no other vehicle on the road. In addition to their distinctive paint color, school buses are required to be fitted with warning lights and multiple safety devices.
A Type I School Bus is a school bus with a manufacturer's rated seating capacity of more than 15 passengers, including the operator. A CDL with a school bus and "P" (passenger) endorsement is required to drive a type I school bus. Type I School Buses must be National School Bus Glossy Yellow. It is legal for the hood and fenders to be lusterless black.
A Type II School Bus is a school bus with a manufacturer's rated seating capacity of more than ten and fewer than 16 passengers, including the operator. A driver's license with a Type II School Bus endorsement is required to drive a Type II school bus. Type II School Buses manufactured after January 1, 2000, must be painted school bus yellow.
Multi-Function School Activity Buses (MFSAB)
A Multi-Function School Activity Bus (MFSAB) is a vehicle that meets the construction and safety standards for a "multi-function school activity bus" adopted by rule by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The manufacturer will label vehicles meeting these standards with a sticker that clearly identifies the vehicle type as an MFSAB. Vehicles that do not have this identifying sticker are not Multi-function School Activity Buses and cannot be used as such. Multi-function School Activity Buses can be used to transport students on trips. They cannot be used to transport students to and/or from home and school.
Drivers of Multi-Function School Activity Buses are required to have school bus endorsements:
- If the school bus is owned or operated by a school or in connection with school activities.
- If transporting Head Start children in a situation where a school bus or MFSAB is required.
Multi-function School Activity Buses require a regular yearly inspection only.
An MFSAB can be used for a road test to obtain your school bus endorsement; however, your license will be restricted to operating MFSAB only.