Beach and Gopal introduce bill to streamline S-type school bus driver certification

Beach and Gopal introduce bill to streamline S-type school bus driver certification

Trenton– Legislation introduced by Senator James Beach and Senator Vin Gopal would allow the holder of an S-type school bus certificate to operate an S-type school bus to transport children to and from school without having to obtain prior commercial driver’s license (CDL), passenger endorsement or school bus endorsement.

“As we move forward into the school year, we must continue to address the shortage of qualified school bus drivers,” said Sen. Beach (D-Camden/Burlington). “This bill will establish a responsible pathway for individuals with standard driver’s licenses to obtain a ‘Type S’ certificate, and provide districts with a larger pool of drivers from which to meet their specific needs.

A person would be eligible to apply for the Type S certificate if they are at least 21 years old; have held a valid basic driver’s license for at least three years; have completed a two-hour pre-driver training in an S-type vehicle; have completed established training in proper procedures for interacting with students with special needs, as well as meeting other requirements.

“Although the shortage of bus drivers is not as high as it was during the height of the COVID 19 pandemic, school districts are still struggling to find drivers. Having more candidates qualified for S-level certification will help us meet the need that has become evident based on conversations with school officials and parents,” said Senator Gopal (D-Monmouth), President of the education committee.

Currently, Type S school bus drivers must have CDL bus and passenger approval. This bill will provide a sensible and targeted pathway for people to get certified to drive a Type S school bus and free up CDL drivers to drive larger traditional school buses.

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