SACRAMENTO, CA --- The California Air Resources Board has fined First Student Inc. (formerly Laidlaw) $300,000 for diesel emissions violations of its school bus fleet that occurred in 2005 and 2006 at locations throughout California.

A routine ARB inspection found that the Cincinnati-based company, which provides transportation services to schools throughout California and the nation, had not properly maintained diesel emissions records of its school bus fleets, as required by the Periodic Smoke Inspection Program, ARB said.

"Routine school bus emissions inspections minimize exposure to diesel soot," said ARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols. "Children are particularly vulnerable to diesel exhaust, which is known to worsen and even cause childhood asthma."

As part of the settlement, First Student Inc. must:

  • Guarantee employees who are responsible for inspecting the vehicles attend a mandatory California community college training class on diesel emissions compliance and provide certificates of completion within one year
  • Instruct employees and drivers on ARB's truck and bus idling regulations
  • Ensure that the trucks and buses in their fleet have the most recent low-NOx software installed
  • Provide documentation to ARB that the inspections are being carried out for the next three years
  • Ensure that all diesel trucks and buses in their fleet are up to federal emissions standards for the vehicle model year and are properly labeled with the manufacturer's factory engine certification label.

 The company will pay $300,000 in penalties: $225,000 will go to the California Air Pollution Control Fund for projects and research to improve California's air quality; $37,500 will go to Peralta Community College District to fund emission education classes conducted by participating California community colleges; and the remaining $37,500 will go to the California Pollution Control Financing Authority, which guarantees loans to off-road vehicle fleets that need to buy exhaust retrofits to comply with state regulations.