The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has extended the “under-the-hood” waiver for new school bus drivers seeking their commercial driver’s license until June 30.
Originally issued on Jan. 3 and slated for expiration this month, the directive gave states the option of waiving the portion of the CDL skills test that required school bus driver applicants to identify engine components.
The extension was granted after Curt Macysyn, executive director of the National School Transportation Association (NSTA) sent a request to the FMCSA on March 9.
The 90-day waiver extension keeps at bay a potential barrier to entry for school districts and contractors trying to recruit new candidates into the pupil transportation industry. It still requires all other components of the CDL test and is restricted to drivers for intrastate use.
In an NSTA news release, Bree Allen of National Express (NSTA government relations chair) said: “The extension of the ‘under-the-hood’ waiver by FMCSA provides another building block as student transportation continues to address the nationwide driver shortage. While we believe there are additional steps that are critical in the industry’s efforts to recruit drivers, it is a step in the right direction as we endeavor to streamline the CDL process to more closely reflect the responsibilities of the school bus driver position.”
Macysyn said the extension allows the CDL to hew closer to a driver’s responsibilities “without negatively affecting safety of our students.”