NY to change school bus driver license requirements

Jan 31, 2024 at 12:54 pm by Observer-Review

school bus
NEW YORK STATE--Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a plan to remove barriers for prospective school bus drivers applying for a commercial driver’s license. At the governor’s direction, the DMV has implemented a federal waiver that allows school bus driver applicants to skip the engine compartment component, also called the “under the hood” component of the commercial driver license road test. This waiver, secured through advocacy from Representative Joe Morelle, will make it easier to get a commercial license at a time when school bus drivers are desperately needed.
“The job of transporting and caring for our children is so important, and the need for more drivers throughout New York state is very real,” Hochul said. “This simple change will encourage more New Yorkers to become school bus drivers – a chance for many to be a positive influence and help support our students, without sacrificing safety.”
DMV Commissioner Mark J.F. Schroeder added, “Bus drivers are such an important part of our school system. Not only do they have the incredible responsibility of getting our children to and from school safely, but they’re also often the first friendly face a student sees outside of their family as they begin their day. New York state values and appreciates our school bus drivers and hopes this step will help more people qualify to take these jobs and help shape the future of New York’s children.”
The “under the hood” exemption is allowed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to help states hire more bus drivers, while existing school bus inspection and maintenance standards continue to apply. During the road test, applicants are still required to perform the remaining elements of the Commercial Driver License (CDL) vehicle inspection skills test. This new CDL classification, which is set to expire Nov. 27, 2024, will restrict licensees to driving only school buses and only in New York state.
Steps to get a school bus only CDL are as follows:
• Must have a New York state driver’s license (Class D, Class E, or Non-CDL C);
• Study the New York State Commercial Driver’s Manual;
• Apply for a commercial learner permit (CLP) at a DMV office. Pass a written knowledge test to receive a CDL permit with the school bus and passenger endorsements;
• Schedule entry level driver training. Read the Entry Level Driver Training (ELDT) FAQ for more information;
• Prepare for a road test and practice with a supervising driver;
• Schedule a “Limited School Bus” road test (online or by calling the DMV Contact Center);
• Pass a “Limited School Bus” road test;
• Go to a DMV office to amend your license to reflect “S1” (school bus only) and “K” (intrastate only) restrictions. 
At the governor’s direction, in 2022, the DMV launched a program authorizing third parties to conduct commercial road tests. There are currently 27 third-party entities conducting commercial driver’s license road tests throughout the state.
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