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New York eases requirements for school bus driver licensing

Governor Kathy Hochul has announced a new measure to address the shortage of school bus drivers in New York. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), under the Governor’s direction, is now implementing a federal waiver that exempts school bus driver applicants from the engine compartment portion of the commercial driver license (CDL) road test. This exemption, facilitated through efforts by Representative Joe Morelle, is intended to streamline the process for becoming a school bus driver.

The waiver, which is in response to the urgent need for more school bus drivers, simplifies the path to obtaining a commercial license. Despite the exemption, safety remains a priority, with standard school bus inspection and maintenance practices still in place. The exemption is part of a broader strategy to encourage more New Yorkers to take on the vital role of school bus drivers.

Applicants for the “School Bus Only” CDL will still need to complete other elements of the CDL vehicle inspection skills test. The exemption, valid until November 27, 2024, limits license holders to driving school buses within New York State. This initiative complements the DMV’s 2022 program allowing third-party entities to conduct commercial road tests, further boosting the capacity for these tests across the state.

Categories: New York StateNews