California 10-Passenger Van Requirementsby Mark Nero
A 10-passenger van is a vehicle that can be used to transport up to 10 people, including the driver. The vans are longer than a traditional commercial or privately owned van, but are smaller than most buses. Ten-passenger vans are frequently used by small schools, churches and shuttle companies. California has state requirements for passenger vans.
Any operator of a 10-passenger van is required to have a valid commercial driver's license with a passenger vehicle endorsement. If the driver will be transporting school-age children, then he has to have a school bus driver certificate. The driver is also required to undergo a medical exam at least once every two years, and must submit to pre-employment drug and alcohol testing, plus undergo such testing if there's a reasonable suspicion of usage.
Ten-passenger vans that are used to transport passengers on a for-hire basis are required to obtain and keep an operating license from the California Public Utilities Commission. There are two types of permits issued; one is a passenger stage corporation certificate, or PSC. The other is a charter-party carrier permit. A PSC provides transportation to the general public on an individual fare basis. Most PSCs operate a fixed route, scheduled service or an airport shuttle-type service. Charter-party carriers are used on a prearranged basis exclusively by an individual or group.
Daily pre-trip inspections are required, and a complete, documented safety and maintenance inspection is required to be conducted at least every 90 days for all commercial 10-passenger vans. To reduce the chances of mechanical failure, commercial vans are expected to be retired by the time they're seven years of age or have reached 180,000 miles in service, whichever comes first. All passengers, as well as the driver, are required to wear seat belts while the van is in operation.
Diesel-fueled 10-passenger vans that are used for commercial purposes and weight more than 10,000 pounds are subject to certain idling restrictions by the State of California's Air Resources Board. Such vehicles cannot idle in one location for more than five minutes at any location, or the driver can be subject to both criminal and civil penalties for pollution violations.
Mark Nero has been a professional journalist since 1995 and has written for numerous publications within and outside the U.S. His work has appeared in "The Boston Globe," "San Diego Union-Tribune" and "Los Angeles Daily News" among others. Nero studied communications at San Diego State University.