Minnesota Body & Equipment
7380 Highway 101
Shakopee, MN 55379-3097
Dear Mr. Rost:
This responds to your letter asking whether Federal law requires buses used for Head Start to be equipped with flashing lights and stop signal arms. You stated that the state of Minnesota recently adopted a law that prohibits such buses from being equipped with flashing lights and stop signal arms. I apologize for the delay in our response.
In an August 26, 1988 letter to you, NHTSA explained that "Federal motor vehicle safety standards (FMVSSs) applicable to buses defined under Federal law as school buses continue to apply in all respects to buses used to carry preprimary school pupils such as those in Head Start programs." Federal law continues to require such buses to comply with all applicable FMVSSs. Accordingly, the Head Start buses referenced in your letter must be equipped with flashing lights and stop signal arms. We have written to Major Glen Gramse of the Minnesota State Patrol to explain that the Minnesota law is preempted by the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards applicable to school buses.
I hope this information will be useful. If you have any further questions or desire any further information, please feel free to contact Mr. Walt Myers of my staff at this address or at (202) 366-2992.
Philip R. Recht Chief Counsel