Lawmakers in Congress have introduced legislation that could have a positive impact on the bus driver shortage.
Congressman Joe Morelle, who represents the Rochester area, introduced a piece of legislation that he says would help districts hire more drivers.
In 2021 Morelle wrote to United States Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg requesting that states be allowed to waive the ‘under the hood’ requirement for new Commercial Driver’s License applicants.
Right now, people who want to get a CDL, which is required to be a bus driver, have to prove they can repair the engine of the vehicle, as well as drive it.
Many believe its an outdated standard that isn’t necessary. Certainly, no bus driver in 2022 would be expected to do that.
The legislation would lengthen the waiver that was provided last year.
“My legislation would extend the waiver for a year-long period giving states plenty of time to make the change to get more bus drivers in the pipeline,” Morelle said on Wednesday.
“In order to get a commercial driver’s license, you have to know how to maintain and do repairs on the engines of the busses, something that no school bus driver in the modern age would be asked to do,” Morelle added. “You stay with the children, and maintenance people are brought out.”
Many districts in the Finger Lakes and Central New York are contending with shortages. However, those shortages are not as widespread as they were in 2020 or 2021.