Labor Shortages

ED: CDL Test Rules Eased Temporarily for School Bus Driver Applicants

The U.S. Departments of Transportation and Education on Tuesday announced that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is temporarily allowing states with school bus driver shortages to waive the portion of the commercial driver’s license skills test that requires applicants to identify the “under the hood” engine components.

The waiver went into effect on Jan. 3, 2022, and expires on March 31, 2022, the departments said in a news release; the change aims to help districts with driver shortages to safely keep schools open for in-person learning. All other components of the CDL written and road test will remain, the departments said.

“We’ve heard from educators and parents that labor shortages, particularly of bus drivers, are a roadblock to keeping kids in schools,” U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in the news release. “Today’s announcement will give states the flexibility they need to help increase the pool of drivers, who are a key part of the school community, and get kids to school safely each day where students learn best.”

“This federal waiver will help states that are short on bus drivers,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “By allowing states to focus on the testing requirements that are critical to safety, we will get additional, qualified drivers behind the wheel to get kids to school safely.”

Drivers receiving a CDL under the temporary waiver are permitted to operate in-state school buses only; they are not authorized to operate trucks, motorcoaches, or any other type of commercial motor vehicle requiring a CDL, according to the announcement.

For more details and related information about American Rescue Plan funds for schools, view the full announcement on the Department of Education website.

About the Author

Kristal Kuykendall is editor, 1105 Media Education Group. She can be reached at [email protected].