Whereas, The deferred operation of this act would tend to defeat its purpose, which is to immediately regulate certain motor vehicles transporting school children, therefore it is hereby declared to be an emergency law, necessary for the immediate preservation of the public convenience.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,
SECTION 1. Section 2 of chapter 90 of the General Laws, as most recently amended by chapter 308 of the acts of 1986, is hereby further amended by adding the following paragraph:-
The registrar may issue without an additional registration fee, distinctive license plates for vehicles used for the transportation of school pupils in accordance with the provisions of section seven D.
SECTION 2. Said chapter 90 is hereby further amended by striking out section 7D, as appearing in the 1984 Official Edition, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
Section 7D. The requirements of clauses (1), (2), (3), (5), (7), (8), (9), (10), (13) and (16) of section seven B shall apply to any motor vehicle carrying not more than eight passengers in addition to the operator, used in the business of transporting school pupils for hire under terms of contract or otherwise, while so used, but not including any motor vehicle used for not more than five days in case of emergency; provided, however, the eight lamp system, so-called, required on certain motor vehicles in clause (7) of said section seven B shall not apply to vehicles specified in this section. In addition, each such vehicle shall be required to be equipped with one pair of adequate chock blocks, a fire extinguisher, three flares in compliance with United States Motor Vehicle D.O.T. Safety Standard No. 125, which shall be placed upon the roadway in conformance with section fourteen B of chapter eighty-five when such vehicle becomes disabled upon the traveled portion of any way, and seat belts for each permanent seating accommodation designed and installed in compliance with applicable United States Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. No person shall operate a motor vehicle referred to in this section, nor knowingly allow any passenger to ride in such vehicle unless the operator and all passengers are wearing a safety belt which is properly adjusted and fastened. All such motor vehicles used to transport school pupils under the provisions of this section shall display the distinctive number plate as authorized by section two.
SECTION 3. Said chapter 90 is hereby further amended by inserting after section 8A the following section:-
Section 8A 1/2. Every operator transporting school pupils under the provisions of section seven D shall make application to the registrar within ninety days of their next birth date for a license to operate such motor vehicles. Application for such license may be made by any person who shall have attained the age of twenty-one years, but has not passed his seventieth birthday and who shall have been a duly licensed motor vehicle operator for a period of three continuous years immediately prior to his application, except a person who has been duly licensed and whose license is not in force because of revocation or suspension or whose right to operate is suspended by the registrar, but before such a person shall be so licensed the registrar shall be satisfied that he is of good moral character and has successfully completed a written test, a visual test, and a physical examination in conformity with such minimum physical qualifications as shall be determined by the registrar. No license shall be issued to a person who has been convicted of the crime of rape, unnatural act, sodomy, or the use, sale, manufacture, distribution, possession with intent to distribute, or trafficking of any of the controlled substances which are unlawful under the provisions of section thirty-one of chapter ninety-four C, or to any person who has been convicted of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, or of marijuana, narcotic drugs, depressants or stimulant substances, as defined in section one of said chapter ninety-four C or the vapors of glue within the preceding five year period under the provisions of section twenty-four. Any person who consents to have any such case disposed of under the provisions of section twenty-four D shall for the purpose of this section be deemed to be convicted.
On or after January first, nineteen hundred and eighty-eight, every person transporting school pupils as specified in this section shall be duly licensed in accordance with the provisions of this section; provided, however, that in case of any emergency such vehicle may, for a period not to exceed three consecutive school days, be operated by any person, twenty-one years of age or over, who is duly licensed by the registrar and has in his possession a valid Massachusetts operator's license; and provided further a person who is duly licensed by the registrar in accordance with the provisions of section eight A or the department of public utilities may operate such vehicles without obtaining a license under this section.
Any such license issued under the provisions of this section shall be valid for a period of twelve months from the date of issue. Upon application for renewal of such license the registrar shall require evidence of continuing good character and physical condition.
The registrar may suspend or revoke any license granted under authority of this section for a violation of any of the provisions of this chapter, or on other reasonable grounds or where, in his opinion, the licensee is either physically or mentally unfit to retain the same.
The registrar may make such rules and regulations as he may deem necessary to carry out the provisions of this section. Each original application shall be accompanied by an application fee which in no event shall be refunded. The application fee and an annual fee to maintain said license shall be determined by the commissioner of administration under the provision of section three B of chapter seven.