Oklahoma will join the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in granting “under-the-hood” waivers to school bus drivers. On January 3, the FMCSA granted states permission to waive the engine compartment component of the pre-trip vehicle inspection skills testing requirement for applicants seeking the School bus (S) and Passenger (P) endorsements and the Intrastate only (K) restriction. Oklahoma will begin issuing the waiver on Monday, January 10 and will continue to do so through March 31, 2022.
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This waives the engine compartment portion of the pre-trip vehicle inspection skills test, which includes items like oil level, coolant level, power steering fluid and water pump belt. Applicants will continue to be tested on the remaining elements of the pre-trip vehicle inspection skills which include skills like cab/engine start, steering, suspension and brakes. Drivers obtaining CDLs under this waiver will still be demonstrating their ability to safely operate the “special features” of a school bus.
Drivers issued a CDL pursuant to this waiver are authorized to engage solely in the instrastate operation of school buses. The driver is not authorized to operate trucks, motorcoaches or any other type of commercial motor vehicle.
The FMCSA has cited the nationwide shortage of school bus drivers as the reason for granting this waiver. The intent is to remove a potential roadblock from getting a school bus endorsement without compromising safety.