Federal CDL waiver to help schools face bus driver shortage

Updated on Jan. 7, 2022https://guthrienewspage.com/oklahoma-to-grant-under-the-hood-waivers-to-school-bus-drivers/

OKLAHOMA CITY – Schools across Oklahoma have faced a shortage of school bus drivers for months, but a temporary policy from the U.S. Dept. of Transportation could help. 

On Tuesday, the U.S. Dept. of Transportation and the U.S. Dept. of Education announced the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is giving states the option of waiving the portion of the commercial driver’s license (CDL) skills test that requires applicants to identify the “under the hood” engine components. All other components of the written and road tests will remain.

Reps. Ronny Johns (R-Ada), Anthony Moore (R-Clinton) and Melissa Provenzano (D-Tulsa) have been working to address the issue and praised Tuesday’s announcement.

“This is a great start to help with the bus driver shortage our schools are facing,” said Johns, a former junior high school principal and teacher. “Representatives Provenzano, Moore and I have been working with the Department of Public Safety to help find solutions. Unfortunately, our hands have been tied because regulations come from the federal government. We want our schools to be aware of this update so they can help fill their school bus driver shortage.”

“Over the last several months, Representatives Johns, Provenzano and I have been working diligently with educators throughout Oklahoma to find a solution to what was very evidently a large problem throughout the state,” Moore said. “This test hindered schools and their abilities to serve students in rural, suburban and urban areas alike. I’m very grateful for this common-sense fix to a wide-scale problem and hope that schools throughout Oklahoma feel the intended relief of this effort.”

“The school bus driver shortage has affected every corner of our state,” said Provenzano, a former school administrator and teacher. “School districts have struggled to find drivers for some time, and this federal waiver will help ease that burden and help us fill those roles yet maintain the safety and security we must have when transporting our children. I am thankful for this effort!”

Drivers receiving a CDL under this temporary waiver are permitted to operate intrastate school buses only; they are not authorized to operate trucks, motorcoaches, or any other type of commercial motor vehicle requiring a CDL.

The FMCSA waiver, which became effective Jan. 3, expires March 31.


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