How does the DMV use Vehicle Code Section 13369 to suspend or revoke a School Bus Driver Certificate?
Because school bus drivers transport our nation’s most precious resource, they are understandably held to a higher standard of driving performance and personal conduct than any other category of professional driver. Transporting pupils or other vulnerable passengers can only be trusted to the most reliable members of our society and requires the driver to hold both a California Commercial Driver License and a School Bus Certificate.
Once a School Bus Certificate is issued, the driver is closely monitored by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and the California Department of Highway Patrol (CHP), to ensure they maintain the physical and mental capacity to transport children. The DMV and CHP also monitor certificate holders for any other issue that may warrant a suspension or revocation of the School Bus Certificate in the interest of child safety.
California Vehicle Code (CVC) section 13369 is a broad and enormously powerful section of law that grants the DMV the immense power to deny, suspend or revoke a School Bus Certificate for nearly any act or omission that is construed as creating a hazard to children.
CVC Section 13369 (b) determines:
“The department shall refuse to issue or renew, or shall revoke, the certificate or endorsement of any person who meets the following conditions” The conditions then listed in the Vehicle Code cover a wide variety of offenses including too many traffic collisions, too many points accumulated on the driver license, causing or contributing to a fatal or serious injury traffic accident, or knowingly making any false statement. But that’s not all…………… California Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 13369 (c) (3) is an obscure section of the Vehicle Code that is often used by the DMV as a “catch all” section which grants the department nearly unbridled power to suspend or revoke a School Bus Certificate for nearly anything.
CVC Section 13369 (c) (3) determines:
“The department may refuse to issue or renew, or may suspend or revoke, the certificate or endorsement of any person who meets any of following conditions… Has violated any provision of this code, or any rule or regulation pertaining to the safe operation of a vehicle for which the certificate or endorsement was issued.” For example, if an employer suspects that a driver did not complete a “pre-trip” inspection of a School Bus, even if the driver did, the DMV can suspend or revoke the School Bus Certificate because that is considered a violation of a regulation under Title 13 of the California Code of Regulations. So, essentially, if the DMV wants to suspend or revoke your School Bus Certificate, they can find a way to justify it under this section of the law.
How we use CVC section 13369 to your advantage? The DMV’s enforcement of CVC section 13369 is a punitive administrative sanction designed to strip a person of a “vested property right.” When this happens, the laws of Procedural Due Process apply. Before an arbitrary action to deny, suspend or revoke a person’s School Bus Certificate can take effect, the driver must be given an opportunity to protect themselves.
California Vehicle Code (CVC) section 13371 is the section of the law that grants a driver the right to rebut the allegation affecting their School Bus Certificate.
CVC section 13371 (a) determines:
“Any driver or applicant who has received a notice of refusal, suspension or revocation, may, within 15 days after the mailing date, submit to the department a written request for a hearing. Failure to demand a hearing within 15 days is a waiver of the right to a hearing.”
Everything the DMV does is time sensitive and when dealing with issues regarding a School Bus Certificate, you only have 15 days (from the date of mailing) to contact the DMV to prevent the suspension or revocation of your certificate. Delays in mail delivery can quickly cut into that time line and you may be left with little time to respond. If you have received any notice from the DMV that they intend to suspend or revoke your School Bus Certificate under the provisions of CVC section 13369, you should react immediately.
The School Bus drivers we have represented over the years have all been consummate professionals who were deeply devoted to their jobs and the safety of children. Despite that commitment, they were drug through the coals by the DMV. Many of our School Bus Drivers were accused of acts they did not commit or that the DMV was blowing out of proportion. If you have received notice that the DMV is acting to suspend or your revoke your certificate, don’t despair. Many, many of these cases can be won. We have conducted School Bus Certificate Hearings in virtually every Driver Safety Office in the State of California, so wherever your battle will occur, we’ll be there.
Pick up the telephone and call the DMV Defense Experts from California Drivers Advocates (CDA). We are a team of former police officers, former DMV hearing officers, investigators and scientists who are ready to turn the tables on the DMV. We will use all applicable provisions of the Vehicle Code along with many years of training and experience to fight for you. Don’t let the DMV steal your School Bus Certificate without a fight. Call CDA today.
More about the California Vehicle Code