From the desk of the ExpressMED/BOAC Assistant Medical Director, Ron Lamontagne, MS, APRN, BC:
Some helpful information about 7D School Pupil Transport Vehicles
What are 7D School Pupil Transport Vehicles?
7D allows “school pupils” to be transported in vehicles other than school buses. These vehicles are called “school pupil transport vehicles” (or “7D vehicles” after the Section number creating the law) and are generally vans and station wagons. The law restricts them to carrying a maximum of eight (8) passengers. 7D vehicles are frequently used to transport special needs and handicapped pupils so it is vitally important that the vehicle owner and operator are qualified to provide this transportation. The vehicle operator must have a “7D School Pupil Transport Certificate.” A school system or a private contract carrier cannot transport school pupils (subject to exceptions listed in the statute) in a vehicle that does not conform to the requirements of 7D.
Current RMV policy prohibits the initial registration of new non-conforming 15 passenger vans for the purpose of transporting students to and from home or school related activities.
7D vehicles are required to be used whenever “fixed-route transportation” is being provided for not more than eight “school pupils.”
This includes: • transporting from home-to-school and school-to-home • picking up and dropping off at established bus stops • transporting from home-to-school-to an after-school activity • transporting to an after-school day care, • transporting from school to school • or a similar type of daily route.
The transportation must be provided on a regular basis for the “pupil’s school year” to require a 7D vehicle.
What are 7D Driver Certificates?
A special certificate is required by M.G.L. c.90, Sec. 8A . to operate a 7D vehicle. An applicant for a 7D certificate must be at least 21 years of age and have had a driver’s license for three (3) continuous years immediately prior to application. The applicant must pass a CORI (Criminal Offender Record Information) check, pass a SORI (Sex Offender Registry Information) check, have a satisfactory driving record, be of good moral character, and pass an eye exam, a physical exam, and a written knowledge exam.
The 7D School Pupil Transport Medical Certificate are completed and certified by a licensed physician available at ExpressMed/BOAC. A medical evaluation is valid for 90 days only. A new physical will be required if the examination is older than 90 days. The medical certificate must include a doctor’s signature and registration number, or the application will be returned to the applicant.
All 7D certificates are valid for one year from the date of issue. (This excludes applicants who are over the age of 70, are insulin-dependent diabetics, or have had a hypoglycemic episode or spell. These applicants are issued certificates for 6 months.)
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can SCHOOL BUS drivers operate a 7D vehicle? Yes. Any person licensed to operate a “school bus” by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) may operate 7D vehicles.
Can a holder of a Commercial Driver’s License with a Passenger Endorsement operate a 7D vehicle? No. Holding a Commercial Driver’s License with a Passenger endorsement is not sufficient to allow you to drive a 7D vehicle. You must either hold a “school bus” certificate from the DPU or obtain a 7D certificate.
Do you need a 7D certificate if you are not driving pupils? No. A 7D certificate is not required if there are no pupils in the vehicle and that school bus sign is in the down position. However, an operator who is driving a 7D vehicle on the way to pick up pupils or has recently discharged pupils must have a valid 7D certificate.
ExpressMED/BOAC providers are experienced and regularly perform 7D Driver certification for NH/MA employers. Services are available through appointment at a competitive price. Contact Heather Stowell [603.231.5308] to setup services in Salem or Eileen Bernard [603.540.7584] to setup services in Manchester.
Source: MassDOT Registry of Motor Vehicles