Regulation of Private School Buses in Virginia: Results of a Study Mandated by the NTSB

Report No: 88-R5

Published in 1987

About the report:

In response to major accidents in Florida and Alabama involving privately-owned and privately-operated school buses, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued three safety recommendations to the governors of all states and required each state to respond regarding its efforts to comply with these recommendations. This report constitutes Virginia's response to the NTSB. The NTSB's recommendations require states and localities to take an active role in licensing and training the drivers of these private vehicles. Although all states comprehensively regulate public school vehicles and drivers, the NTSB observed that privately owned vehicles used by nonpublic schools as well as churches, clubs, and other activity groups tend to be excluded from the regulatory scheme. This report analyzes the statutory and regulatory scheme for school buses in Virginia, assesses Virginia's compliance with the NTSB's recommendations, and identifies areas that require legislative action. It presents data on the ownership of school buses and other vehicles by nonpublic schools in Virginia. It also examines the extent to which these schools comply with the applicable statutory requirements. The report then analyzes the data on the involvement of school buses and other vehicle types in traffic accidents to determine the extent of the school bus crash problem in Virginia. Finally, the report proposes changes in the Code of Virginia and in agencies' regulatory responsibilities that would enhance Virginia's compliance with the NTSB's recommendations for private school bus safety.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


  • Jessica A. Ginsburg

Last updated: December 29, 2023

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