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FMCSA announces temporary CDL waiver for school bus drivers

Officials hope the waiver will attract new drivers

Posted January 7, 2022

In an effort to make it easier to recruit new school bus drivers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced an optional three-month waiver of the “under the hood” component of the CDL skills test. The waiver — for states that adopt it — temporarily eliminates the requirement that those seeking a CDL must be able to identify engine components. This mechanical identification portion of the CDL skills test has been seen by some as unrelated to whether a driver can safely operate a school bus and as needlessly making it more difficult to qualify for a CDL.

States are not required to adopt the waiver, but for states who choose to waive the “under the hood” requirement, the hope is that the waiver may help alleviate the shortage of school bus drivers by making it a little easier for new school bus drivers to get their CDLs.

The waiver is in effect from January 3 through March 31, 2022. Drivers who receive a CDL under this waiver are only permitted to operate intrastate school buses, and they must still pass all other parts of the CDL written and road tests.

This article was written by Jen Loomis of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

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