New Jersey Lawmakers Seek to Lower School Bus Driver Requirements to Fill Shortage

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TRENTON, N.J. – A bill that would ease the requirements to be a school bus driver in the state of New Jersey has moved one step closer to becoming law today.

Under that law, school bus drivers would no longer need a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Bill A3565, sponsored by Assemblymen Sean Kean and Edward Thomson, a driver with a valid non-commercial basic driver’s license who has completed certain training can transport schoolchildren on a school bus that seats nine or fewer students.

“This is another tool to address the shortage in bus drivers that districts across the state are facing,” Kean (R-Monmouth) said. “These smaller vehicles used to transport just a few schoolchildren should not require the same extensive CDL training that full-sized school bus drivers need. Our bill provides school districts more flexibility without compromising safety so that students can get to where they need to go.”

“Meeting the needs of students and families who require transportation has been a challenge for schools in New Jersey, which is why we need to pass legislation that makes common sense accommodations,” Thomson (R-Monmouth) said. “Our bill makes it easier for schools to take a small group of kids to an activity or program while CDL drivers are assigned to buses with 50-plus students.”

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Currently, all school bus drivers must pass the written and skills tests required for a CDL and get school bus and passenger endorsements from the Department of Education.