With an eye on the food allergy community as a unique group of consumers since 2008, we're on a quest to find and share ways to continue enjoying the good things in life.


28 January 2010

New Massachusetts Law Will Require Epipen Training for School Bus Drivers


When I read Epipens on School Buses Targeted, I did a double-take! What? Epi-pens on school buses? I just looked into this not that long ago--see my earlier post Food Allergy Buzz looks for Answers re: Epipens on School Buses--and was told the bus drivers here don't administer Epi-pens, they call 911. Did I miss something? Apparently, I did! A Massachusetts law going into effect in March will require new school bus drivers to receive Epi-pen training. Specifically, the newspaper article states "State law as of March requires new school bus drivers to be trained in the use of an EpiPen — the name brand of an epinephrine injector — to get their annual certification renewed."

What's the catch, you ask. There's always a catch. According to the Cape Cod Times article, "Because the new law targets only new drivers, it doesn't require the training for the majority of the state's 20,000 school bus drivers, a Registry of Motor Vehicles spokeswoman said."

It's an interesting bit of news, especially to those of us with school aged food allergic children here in the Commonwealth. Take a look.

I'm curious to know what the rule is in other states regarding school buses and epi-pen training and administration. Can anyone shed some light on that? Are there similar laws in effect or going into effect? Thanks for any info anyone might be able to provide!

What's your opinion? What do you think about Epi-pen training for school bus drivers?

 This post has been edited to include the new text to Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 90, Section 8A: "All original applicants for a registry of motor vehicles school bus driver's license or a department of telecommunications and energy driver's license when used to drive school pupils to or from school shall have first satisfactorily completed a pre-service school bus driver training program established by the commissioner of education in collaboration with the registrar and the commissioner of the department of telecommunications and energy and a basic course in first aid which shall include training relative to the administration of an epinephrine auto injector, as approved by the registrar. Upon successful completion of the first aid course, section 55A of chapter 71 shall apply to such applicants. In addition, all renewal applicants for a registry of motor vehicles school bus driver's license or a department of telecommunications and energy driver's license when used to drive school pupils to or from school shall have first satisfactorily completed an in-service driver training program established by the commissioner of education in collaboration with the registrar and the commissioner of the department of telecommunications and energy. All original applicants for a registry of motor vehicles school bus driving instructor's certificate shall have first satisfactorily completed an instructor's training program as approved by the registrar. No person shall be employed to provide instruction in any capacity for the operation of school buses unless such person is the holder of such an instructor's certificate issued by the registrar."

3 comments:

Katie said...

Finally! Some progress! I'm amazed at how all the towns on the Cape see this as such an important issue. I'm hoping my town follows by requiring epipen training for ALL bus drivers, not just new ones.

Anonymous said...

School Bus Drivers are charged with the safe and efficient transportation of pupils betwen homes and schools. They have to keep on time, maintain disiplne, and drive a 15 ton bus with up to 70 students on board. EPI pen training and administration should be left to parents and school employees. If a child is so very alergic, they should be traanported to school in a safer, more controlled environment, perhaps a parents car!

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous, Your post shows that you need to be educated. State law states that you cannot discriminate against a student with a disability and Anaphylaxis is considered a disability. Not allowing a child with Anaphylaxis to board a bus would be discrimination. I do however agree with you to an extent, I feel that school buses with student with health issues should have a monitor who should be able to administer the EpiPen if needed. Parents do not always have the luxury of being able to transport their own children maybe due to work schedule or LACK of a vehicle. I am very glad that this issue has come to the forefront and agree with the first post that all busses should be staffed with someone who can administer emergency medication if necessary.

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