Why Does the DMV Deny, Suspend, or Revoke a School Bus Driver Special Certificate?

Why Does the DMV take Disciplinary Action Against a School Bus Driver Special Certificate?Without exception, School Bus Drivers are among the most controlled of all Special Certificates because the safety and well-being of our children and other vulnerable passengers is at stake. Below is a list of reasons that the Special Certificate for, the School Bus Driver, School Pupils Activity Bus Driver, Vehicle for Developmentally Disabled Persons Driver, or Youth Bus Driver may be denied, suspended or revoked:

Sex Offenses: Vehicle Code Section 13370 (b)(1), permits the DMV to deny, suspend or revoke a Bus Driver Certificate if the driver has been convicted of any crime specified in Section 44424 of the Education Code within the seven years immediately preceding the application date.

In some instances, however, the DMV is not required to wait for a conviction before taking a disciplinary action against a Bus Driver certificate. Vehicle Code Section 13376 (1), may immediately and temporarily suspend a Bus Driver Certificate if the driver is arrested or charged with any sex offense in Section 44010 of the Education Code. This section does not require the DMV to wait for court disposition before taking an action. If the court later convicts the driver of the accused sex offense, the DMV will revoke the certificate which was previously suspended. If the court action results in a conviction of a lesser charge, the DMV will rescind the earlier suspension but may then act to suspend or revoke the certificate on grounds of moral turpitude. If the court action results in the sex charges being dismissed, the DMV shall remove the action from the driving record, but may still act on issues of moral turpitude, at the Department’s discretion.

Moral Turpitude: Vehicle Code Section 13370 (b)(2), permits the DMV to deny, suspend or revoke the Bus Driver Certificate if the driver has committed any act involving moral turpitude. A nexus must exist between the act, behavior or crime and the safety of pupil transportation.

Issues of Moral Turpitude are difficult to define and give the DMV tremendous latitude in bringing a driver’s past acts to bear against him or her. Any act which contains an essential element to defraud is an act of moral turpitude. Petty theft, welfare fraud, drug sales, spouse abuse or any act of violence would be considered acts of moral turpitude. This section does not require that the driver be convicted of the alleged acts. The mere suspicion that a person has committed an act of moral turpitude is sufficient to take a disciplinary action.

Felony Conviction:Vehicle Code Section 13372 (b)(1), permits the DMV to deny, suspend or revoke the Bus Driver Certificate of any person who has been convicted during the preceding seven years of ANY felony or convicted during that period of ANY theft.

Habitual Use or Addiction to Alcohol, Drugs or Medications: Vehicle Code Section 13372 (b)(3), permits the DMV to deny, suspend, or revoke the Bus Driver certificate of any person who habitually and excessively uses alcohol, drugs or prescription medications.

Use or Possession of Illegal Drugs:Vehicle Code Section 13372 (b)(4), permits the DMV to deny, suspend or revoke the Bus Driver Certificate of any person who has been convicted within the preceding seven years of any offense relative to the use, possession, sale or transportation of narcotics or addictive or dangerous drugs.

Conviction of Violent Misdemeanors:Vehicle Code Section 13372 (b) (5), permits the DMV to deny, suspend or revoke the Bus Driver Certificate of any person who is convicted of ANY misdemeanor involving force, violence, threat or intimidation.

Probation for Driving Offenses: Vehicle Code Section 13372 (b)(5), permits the DMV to deny, suspend or revoke the Bus Driver Certificate of any person who is on probation for the unsafe operation of a motor vehicle.

Unsafe Operation of ANY Motor Vehicle:Vehicle Code Section 13372 (b) (6), permits the DMV to deny, suspend or revoke the Bus Driver Certificate of any person who, within the three years immediately preceding application, has had his or her driver license suspended or revoked for the unsafe operation of a motor vehicle or, within the same time period, has been convicted of any of the following:

  1. Failing to stop and render aid in an accident involving injury or death (Hit & Run).
  2. Driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug, or the combined influence of intoxicating liquor and any drug.
  3. Reckless driving or reckless driving involving bodily injury or death.

Traffic Collision: Vehicle Code Section 13372 (b)(8), permits the DMV to deny, suspend or revoke the Bus Driver Certificate of any person who has been involved as the driver of any accident involving bodily injury or death or; involved in three or more motor vehicle accidents in the preceding one year period.

Fraudulent Application:Vehicle Code Section 13369 (b)(5), permits the DMV to deny, suspend or revoke the Bus Driver Certificate if a driver has knowingly made a false statement or concealed a material fact on an application for certificate or endorsement, when the truth would have resulted in a DMV action.

Physical or Mental Conditions: Vehicle Code Section 13369 (b)(9), permits the DMV to deny, suspend or revoke an Bus Driver Certificate if the driver does not meet the minimum medical standards established by the DMV in Article 2.1, Sections 28.18 and 28.19, of Title 13, California Code of Regulations. If there is an immediate risk to safety, the action may be taken immediately under the authority of Vehicle Code Section 13953. So if a person has, or develops, a physical or mental condition which makes them unsafe to operate a school bus, the special certificate may be denied, suspended or revoked.

Irrational Behavior:Vehicle Code Section 13369 (b)(7), permits the DMV to deny, suspend or revoke a Bus Driver Certificate if the driver has demonstrated irrational behavior to the extent that a reasonable and prudent person would have reasonable cause to believe that the ability to perform the duties of a School Bus Driver may be impaired. For action to be warranted there must be a nexus (connection) between the behavior, and the applicant or certificate/endorsement holder’s ability to perform the duties required in driving a school bus.

Unsafe Operation of a School Bus: Vehicle Code Section 13372 (b)(11), permits the DMV to deny, suspend or revoke the Bus Driver Certificate of any person who has violated any provision of the Vehicle Code or any regulation adopted by the Commissioner of the California Highway Patrol relating to the safe operation of school buses during the preceding one-year period.

Termination of Employment:Vehicle Code Section 13372 (b)(12), permits the DMV to deny, suspend or revoke the Bus Driver Certificate of any person who has committed any act which warrants dismissal by his or her employer.

Reapplication:Vehicle Code Section 13369 (f)(1), permits the driver to reapply for a Bus Driver Certificate not less than one year from the effective date of refusal, suspension or revocation, except in those cases where longer a period of withdrawal is required by law. Some periods are indefinite.

About the Author:

Rob Collier
Mr. Collier served with distinction as a Law Enforcement Specialist with the United States Air Force and received an honorable discharge. He is a graduate of the United States Air Force Security Police Academy and the United States Army Police Investigators School. While stationed at Edwards Air Force Base, Mr. Collier was one of the first Security Police Specialists to provide “close‐in” security for Space Shuttle Missions when that program was new. Mr. Collier is a Distinguished Graduate of the Los Angeles County Sheriff Academy (Class 228) and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Special Weapons and Tactics School (SWAT). He received specialized training in basic accident investigation and determining speed from skids at the San Bernardino Sheriff Academy. For nearly 15 years, Mr. Collier was the Operations Officer for one of the most prominent specialty DUI law firms in the country. Reporting directly to that firm’s owner, Mr. Collier directed the day to day operations of DUI attorneys, investigators, expert witnesses and support staff. He developed the firm’s “white glove” policy of client care that is now the hallmark of our company. He has been involved in the preparation, investigation, and presentation of literally thousands of DMV administrative hearings throughout Southern California. Receiving hands on training from defense attorneys, retired DMV hearing officers, and some of the best scientific experts in the field, Mr. Collier possesses a unique level of experience; making him a true expert in the field of Administrative Advocacy. Mr. Collier is our Chief Advocate and available to represent clients in all categories of DMV hearings in California. If your case is assigned to one of our other professional advocates, Mr. Collier will personally review and supervise each case. He is accessible to each and every one of our clients.